The difference between Russia and Iran over Syria

 

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ELIJAH J.MAGNIER –

 

Russia is speaking to its allies in the same tone used by U.S President Barack Obama when he addressed his Middle Eastern allies saying “I shall not be drown in your swamp”, in Syria, marking a contrast with Iran about several issues. The main disputes are related to the timing of the ceasefire, which Tehran considers it was agreed too early; the fate of the person of President Bashar al-Assad; and the early announcement of the withdrawal of the Russian air force, when many areas are still under the control of the “Islamic State” group (known as Daaesh or ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra,- Al-Qaeda in the Levant, and their allies.

 

According high official present in Syria, Russia will withdraw the biggest of its air force from Hmaymeem airport in the coming days and will keep helicopters and jets, sufficient to protect the Russian naval base at Tartus, and support the war on Salafist Jihadists. This move coincides with an agreement between Washington and the Kremlin to impose the capitulation on all fighters without exception, excluding Jihadists. According to the agreement, the U.S will enforce on its regional Middle Eastern allies the cessation of the flow of weapons. Although Moscow doesn’t share the same view but aim for a general unconditional election, Washington and Saudi Arabia would be even happy for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to select the candidate of his choice as long as he steps down. In this way, no party involved in the war in Syria can be defeated but all would come out as winners.

 

What Washington and the Kremlin accept is unsuitable for Tehran. The person of Assad represents the “axis of the Resistance”. His fall leads to the shaking of the axis. As no one can guarantee the future and he is the person who has accepted to go to war to defend the doctrine and value of this axis he belongs to. Therefore, the removal of Assad is not on Iran’s agenda. For this, Iran and those within the “axis of Resistance” won’t abandon him. Otherwise, the death of thousands of those who helped Assad (Iranian IRGC forces, Hezbollah and Iraqi militia) and tens of thousands of Syrians who fought under his banner would be wasted.

 

President Barak Obama is distributing cookies on each side: He confirmed that Iran’s interest in the Middle East must be observed, agreed to the nuclear deal, supported the military campaign of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against Yemen, rejected the Kurdish federation to please Turkey, and is bringing everybody around a negotiation table, along with Russia, for potential undeclared concessions somewhere else. So each side is pleased with a little piece of the cake and no one takes it all.

 

“Iran did not agree with Russia on the timing of the ceasefire, because its forces were advancing on several axes. Moreover, the withdrawal of the Russian air force came in an inappropriate moment, during the Geneva negotiations. It has affected the negotiations and offered wide speculation and interpretations. When the Russian President Vladimir Putin informed Iran of his intention to withdraw his Air force, he emphasised that this tactical move does not mean that Russia is pulling out from Syria; that the Kremlin can, in 24-hours, bring back the entire fleet to the battlefield if necessary; that the move would be announced only to facilitate the process of a political solution in agreement with the United States. We expressed our concern of the inadequate time of this move and confirmed that we are ready to fill up any gap needed to protect the regime and the country by all means and inject more forces in Syria. Moscow knows now that Iran is not pulling away under any circumstances”, said the source.

“Iran would send more troops to Syria to fill up the Russian void because it does not consider that the removal of al-Qaeda and ISIS is possible without ground forces fighting these groups. The battle will regain soon because both al-Qaeda and ISIS are not interested in any cease-fire or in any political settlement in Syria and enjoy strong ideology to reach their objectives that contradict any USA-Russia deal. Both parties aspire publicly Islamic state and won’t stop before achieving their objectives. This is why the announcement of the end of the war in Syria is premature. ISIS and al-Qaeda will not be removed in the corridors of Geneva or around a secret meeting between the United States and Russia. And last, Iran doesn’t agree that Russia negotiates on behalf of Syria and strike deals with the Americans. Therefore, there are obviously differences between Tehran and Moscow”.

 

Russia is not sensitive toward the religious differences between Iran and other Middle Eastern countries (mainly Saudi Arabia). Moreover, Turkey considers today that Assad can prevent any partition of the country or even a Kurdish state on the Turkish borders, from al-Hasaka to Efrin. Such a federation endangers Turkey and Syria but could also push Kurds in Iran to rise. While the Turkish-Russian relationship is at the bottom, the Turkish-Iran relationship meets on many political and economical issues.

 

Although Russia doesn’t mind a federation in Syria, its aim is to prevent the partition of the country, regardless who is in command. Iran doesn’t see any alternative but Assad in power. Moreover, Russia maintains a good relationship with Israel while Iran supports the Syrian President who chooses to distance himself from Israel as a matter of doctrine. Any one who would replace Assad will pave the way to a peace with Tel Aviv”.

 

Iran shall not back down in its support to Assad, while the United States and Russia believe a solution is possible where all parties are winners. Moscow still supports elections under the auspices of the United Nations, which involved any candidate, including Assad with no particular care to the person. It is also clear that there are tactical differences between the allies. Tehran and Damascus were informed about the latest Russian decisions but not consulted. Moscow entered into the den of the major influential countries in the Middle East from the Syrian gate. If it gets out now of it now, where it is going to go to?

 

 

Original article published here: http://www.alraimedia.com/ar/article/special-reports/2016/03/18/665756/nr/syria

 

On twitter: ‪@EjmAlrai

14 thoughts on “The difference between Russia and Iran over Syria

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  9. 3AM

    Russia is a dodgy ally period. When Serbs in Kosovo asked Putin to grant them Russian passports he sent them blankets. When the brigade Vostok was right at the gates of Mariupol Putin suddenly ordered a ceasefire and later on the commander of the Vostok brigade was assassinated in an ambush. The RPG was used while he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Not long ago after that a legendary Lugansk’s commander Mozgov was assassinated too. Until today nobody has claimed responsibility for either of the crimes. If you don’t believe me ask people of Doneck and Lugansk. Just to end on this note it seems to me that a cult of personality has been developing steadily around Putin to a point where many have started to believe in his infallibility in international politics.

    Reply
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  11. kassander4ppp

    Putin is a mean and vengeful man, he neither helped Syria, nor Russia(sic!). He always helps his cronies and himself. One has read a lot and pay attention to his deeds. When Syria could win she was stopped by Russia, few years ago, forced to accept disaster and humiliating Kofi Annan plan. One has all cards to think whether Putin is executing his own plans or those of Kissinger’s. Those who “pray” to Putin or “believe” in Putin are “genetically blind” or uninformed or, to put it blunt, morons.

    Reply
    1. gerryhiles

      Either you are a liar, or just irrational.

      Elijah’s position on Moscow makes no factual sense, as I have shown, but your rant about Putin is completely absurd and pure hate speech. No normal person in Damascus, Tehran, Baghdad, etc. would agree with you. Elijah’s claim that Putin did not consult with Assad is perhaps merely mistaken, but your wild accusations are nonsense.

      You are beyond reason.

      Reply
      1. kassander4ppp

        I agree with you – “they’d (so called “normal”) not agree with me”. They read Koran only perhaps. I’m not interested in their thought about Putin, it’s up to them, not my business.
        BTW. Did you really think Putin discussed his decision with Assad before he made it?! Oh, well, man, you should rethink your priorities…
        BTW. Did you read anythink from my blog which is not from the officialdom of Russian/Kremlin rabid propaganda? I bet you not.
        BTW Writing about Putin being honest is a crime against mind and offensive to all those reading a lot on Russia. And being able to read Russian characters up to the point being able to read blog posts.

        Have a nice dreams.

        Reply
  12. gerryhiles

    I have been sympathetic towards Iran for many years – not that it’s made any difference in global affairs of course – but I cannot see Tehran’s problem here, but I can see hypocritical attitudes at play, because Tehran cuts deals to suit, e.g. with Turkey, without particular regard for Moscow.

    Vladimir Putin has been as honest and transparent as strategically possible so, for instance, it should come as no surprize that Assad is not being supported as a matter of prime principal – up to the Syrian people. Also it should not be a surprize that Russia will not commit significant ground forces – up to Syria’s allies in the region. Nor should it be a surprize that some air capability has been withdrawn on schedule in under six months – with plans in place to return in a day or so, if necessary.

    What is the problem? It seems like bickering and Putin & Co will not engage at that level. He is plain that Russia comes first – as it should – but if others benefit, that is good.

    A fairly high-placed Russian friend emailed me a couple of days ago and, in part, had this to say, “My faith in my leader is not a blind one – Putin has my faith because he has never given me any reason for doubt! ” And so say 80+% of Russians, judging by reliable polls.

    Throughout fraught nuclear negotiations, did Moscow let Tehran down? No, the S-300 deal just had to go on hold and now there’s the ‘technical’ matter of full payment, the full details of which I do not know, but Moscow is not a charity organization, not even fully for Donbass. What’s wrong with that? Does Tehran give out freebies like Victoria Nuland handing out cookies on Maidan? Thought not.

    Putin’s position is one of enlightened self/Russian interest, whereas a lot of other ‘players’ – especially Washington – operate out of more or less pure self-interest, not even real national interest in the case of Washington and Brussel’s banking lackeys, for whom the “centre of the universe” is Goldman Sachs, Rothschild and personal fortune.

    Obviously Tehran does not fall into that psychopathic category, but if your summary is correct, then there is a failure to see the big picture and to recognize Moscow’s legitimate self/Russian, collective interest, amongst other factors enlightened by centuries of Western aggression, no matter how reasonable the attempts at raproachment, time and again.

    ##Why do you write this? “Moscow entered into the den of the major influential countries in the Middle East from the Syrian gate. If it gets out now of it now, where it is going to go to?”

    It is factually NOT true. Moscow is a long-time ally of Syria – 60? years – and with a naval base there. Moscow is NOT getting out.

    The upgraded naval base remains + the new air base in Latakia AND the ships, aircraft and personnel to go with them, with everything readied for a full return or more, e.g. Ankara/Erdogan has been told that any significant invasion will be met by tactical nuclear weapons. Moscow has been allied with Syria a lot longer than Tehran and was, during Soviet times, whilst Iranians suffered under the Shah’s regime.

    It is NOT Moscow’s fault that Washington/London/the CIA/MI6 engineered the overthrow of Mossadeq and installed the Shah’s regime in Iran, nor the Taliban/al Qaida in Afghanistan, nor the collapse of the Soviet Union, etc.. Where is the gratitude for a recovering Russia being again involved on the side of Iran, Iraq and Syria, albeit out of enlightened self/Russian interest primarily? What’s wrong with that?

    Disclaimer: I have been a Russophile for about 57 years and never more so since Putin reluctantly took the reins (Yeltsin pleaded “Save Russia”) though having no experience of politics and having to rapidly learn on the job, by his own account. My Russian friend gets very angry at articles like this, I less so because I am not Russian, but I do not anticipate a reply to my measured criticism, if your views are entrenched. In which case I will cancel my subscription before long.

    Reply

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