Syria is Key to Iran’s Foreign Policy
One of the most important issues on the agendas of world leaders right now is the still raging Syrian civil war. Its importance goes far beyond the suffering of the Syrian people and the great number of casualties quite simply because Iran is involved.
Make no mistake, it is not the fate of the Syrian people that is of interest to Iran. It is the fate of Assad, one of Tehran’s staunchest allies who is key to Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.
Iran supports Assad with its own IRGC forces and Hezbollah troops on Syrian battlefields as well as financially. That’s why it seemed strange to invite Iran to the peace talks with Syria since Iran obviously has a vested interest in this equation. In the meantime, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visits Assad, doing all he can to maintain a high profile as a legitimate mediator while trying not to seem too pushy insisting that Iran would participate in talks only “if we are invited” while stipulating his own precondition against preconditions.
So while Zarif “innocently” maintained that “only Syrians should shape their future“, he waited for the invitation, got the invite from UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, and then got disinvited the next day.
The Tehran-Moscow-Damascus Axis
The question of whether Iran should play a part in the talks over Syria’s future is openly backed by Russia: The Russians believe that Iran is “key to Syria peace efforts” and a “Tehran-Moscow-Damascus” axis is being promoted by none other than President Putin himself.
The Russians have a lot to gain in supporting Tehran. Although they claim that they have no hidden agendas, they are focused on the “post-nuclear-deal” stage in order to reap a cool $1.5 Billion a month in oil-for-goods trade as well as sales of military equipment in the billions.
Needless to say, the growing ties between Iran and Russia are ruffling feathers in the West because they undermine any pressure that could have been placed by Europe and the US in the nuclear issue.
In the meantime, the Syrian people are suffering from being disposable pawns in a much larger game.
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