The Impact on Iran of the Turkish Invasion in Syria

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Dr. Doron Itzchakov - Iranian President Rouhani condemned Turkish President Erdogan's decision to invade Kurdish territory in Syria. Large-scale protests by the Iranian Kurdish minority (estimated at eight million) broke out against Turkish institutions throughout Iran. Yet Tehran does not want to risk its relationship with Ankara, which allows it to circumvent U.S. sanctions and constitutes an essential channel for the supply of Iranian gas to major European countries. The Turkish invasion challenges the wish of Iranian policymakers to expand Tehran's "strategic depth" in Syria. Moreover, there are quite a few Salafist-jihadist militias on the ground alongside the Turkish army, some of which originated in al-Qaeda, that perceive Iran's Shiite Islam as a heresy and its practitioners as worthy of persecution. For Iran's security establishment, the deployment of Salafist militias operating under a Turkish umbrella is intolerable. Deployment of Sunni militias could limit Iranian maneuverability in northern Syria. The Iranian regime has high hopes that the international community will turn its eyes to the Turkish aggression and divert attention from Tehran's attempts to expand its strategic depth.

2019-10-25 00:00:00

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