Iran Faces the U.S. Alone

(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Prof. Hillel Frisch - The numerous summits between Russian President Putin, Iranian President Rouhani, and Turkish President Erdogan feature plenty of smiles and photos of handshakes. But the actions of these three countries in wars on the ground tell a different story. In Syria, Turkey is basically waging a proxy war against Syria and Russia. Russian sorties lead the campaign against the last Sunni rebel stronghold in Idlib, most of whom are armed and financed by the Turks. There is a similar Turkish-Russian proxy war in Libya. Russia is backing Gen. Haftar's assault on the government in Tripoli which, according to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Russia has effectively given a green light to Israel to destroy Iran's military and industrial build-up in Syria. Moscow's tolerance for these Israeli strikes does not endear it to Tehran. Russia wants to see a strong Syrian state that can reliably host a Russian military and naval base on the Mediterranean. Iran wants to turn the Syrian state into a "Lebanon" in which pro-Iranian Shiite militias are strong and the state is weak. As for Turkish-Iranian relations, in the pro-Iranian media outlets al-Manar and al-Mayadin, Turkey is vilified - in terms similar to those used about Israel - for its support for Sunni fundamentalists who kill Hizbullah fighters on Syrian territory. For Iran, this means it will be on its own to face the consequences if it decides to act against the U.S. The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at its BESA Center for Strategic Studies.

2020-01-15 00:00:00

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