Will Iran Leave Syria?

(National Interest) Mohammed Ayoob - Iran's alliance with the House of Assad goes back to 1980 when Syria under Hafez al-Assad was the only Arab country that stood by Iran during its eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In recent years, much of the Assad regime's successes can be attributed to the military training and advice provided by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the fighting capability of Hizbullah forces from Lebanon again trained by the IRGC. Furthermore, more than 1,000 Iranians, including senior members of the Revolutionary Guards, have been killed fighting on behalf of the Assad regime. Iran is keen to profit financially from the reconstruction program that is bound to follow the end of the civil war and is unwilling to give up its strategic foothold in Syria. To expect Iran to eliminate or even reduce its presence in Syria is nothing more than a pipe dream. Assad is more than comfortable with the Iranian military presence in the country because it serves his immediate purpose of regime maintenance and because he does not want to become overly dependent on Russia. Assad is suspicious that Moscow might decide to withdraw its support to the regime if it serves its other more pressing interests. Under these circumstances, American efforts to persuade Russia to induce Iran to leave Syria appear futile. The writer is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Michigan State University and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy in Washington.

2018-08-31 00:00:00

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