US elections will not change conditions in Syria

Randa Takieddine

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The elections in the United States will not change conditions in Syria, as long as Bashar Assad remains in power. Whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is elected president, the priority in foreign policy will be the interest of Israel. In Syria today, Hezbollah has sent some of its weapons and fighters to inside Syria to help the regime kill and oppress the Syrian people, which will weaken the party over the medium-term. Meanwhile, Iran and its Revolutionary Guards, or Pasdaran, have thousands of people on the ground in Syria, to help and save the repressive regime that Iran has committed itself to protecting until the end, because its fate is linked with that of Damascus.

However, the war in Syria is a guerrilla conflict, where a people is defending its survival and its country as it continues to resist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, with all means at its disposal. The Syrian Army, the Pasadran and Hezbollah are certainly superior to the rebels in terms of advanced equipment (an Iranian-made drone is not within the reach of the rebels, for example), but the ongoing killing on the ground in Syria will weaken all of the forces hostile to the Jewish state, such as Hezbollah and Iran. The war is costly in lives and also in money. Iran’s economic situation is deteriorating, although it still has money to kill and engage in destructive acts. Hezbollah’s capabilities are being impacted by Iran’s deteriorating economic situation and the same goes for the Syrian regime. It must depend on Russia, which is hostile to any democratic movement, which recalls Vladimir Putin’s violations of democracy.

Thus, Iran and Hezbollah are seeing their military power eroded in Syria, while the Syrian regime is weak. The state of war that the regime has created is in the interest of the Jewish state, which is being spared a war against Iran and Hezbollah that will not have guaranteed results; Tel Aviv prefers to see the two of them weakened in Syria. Therefore, no new American administration will do anything new to help end Assad’s regime, as long as Israel is comfortable with the current situation. Whatever the U.S. administration, it will focus its attention on helping in the recovery of a regime in Libya that suits it, because U.S. oil giants have a large share of Libya’s oil. Libya is more important, and Washington is sending troops to train the new regime.

The situation in Syria could last for a long time and a solution will only emerge from inside the country, when Assad’s forces become exhausted from killing their own people. As for Hezbollah’s sending of an Iranian-made drone over Israel, the move was justified by the following: Hezbollah remembered that it still claims to be engaged in resistance against Israel. However, since 7 May 2008, the party has shown that its resistance has become a resistance to any Arab democratic movements in Lebanon and in Syria.

The division in Lebanon between allies of the Syrian regime and allies of the Syrian people has performed, and is continuing to perform, a disservice to Lebanon, its security and its economy. The Lebanese government’s disassociation policy will be fragile as long as Hezbollah carries out Iranian policies in Lebanon and Syria, which is a gift to Israel because it weakens the enemies of the Jewish state.

(Randa Takieddine is a writer for Dar al-Hayat where this article was published on Oct. 17, 2012)

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