May 25, 2013

Iran and Hezbollah need Assad

Damascus is Iran's main ally in the Middle East, and a supply route to its other ally, the party-cum-militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, passes through Syrian territory. This means Iran, its partners and its geopolitical enemies all have a stake in the conflict:

•    Hezbollah troops are fighting for Assad, and Iran was reported to have deployed in Syria members of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards, a special wing of the Iranian military. According to some media reports, 120,000 volunteers are on standby in Iran and ready to join the fray to prevent Assad's ouster.

•    The Arab League – most of whose 22 members are Sunnite-dominated states that traditionally oppose Shiite Iran – are believed to be supplying arms to the Syrian opposition, mainly the jihadists. They would not support a plan to sideline the religious radicals in favor of liberals, many of whom are secular-minded, though they may be convinced not to interfere too much, Akhmedov believes.

•    Iran's other enemy is the United States, which, along with the EU, has been providing the Syrian rebels with everything but firearms – medicines, communication devices, armored vehicles. Openly arming Assad's enemies is "Plan B" for the West in case the upcoming negotiations fall through, says Akhmedov, but that's hardly conducive to peace talks.

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20130524/181326613/5-Obstacles-to-Peace-in-Syria.html

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