Iran’s government has a clear aim which is creating a reality that suits it and that imposes itself when deciding Syria’s fate and that expands its role in Iraq later. To achieve this aim, it is leading Iraqi militias, other militias it had established and groups which it influences in Iraq towards Syria to engage in major battles and control border crossings in Damascus and vital areas. This means the conflict will prolong for years and regional countries will be pushed to support other groups that oppose Iran. This will produce ISIS again and thwart the war on terrorism.
The Tehran regime uses different excuses to justify its project, such as fighting terror groups and protecting the Iraqi borders. However, Iran is mapping its areas of control, controlling border crossings in Syria and trying to impose its presence on most of the 300 kilometers, and then cross with the Iraqi militias to Syrian territories.
Iran’s Quds Force had entered Syria to save the Assad regime from collapsing under the excuse of the protecting Shiite shrines. It is now establishing its military presence under the excuse of fighting ISIS. However the truth is, it has a long-term project which is to dominate Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Iran’s Quds Force had entered Syria to save the Assad regime from collapsing under the excuse of the protecting Shiite shrines. It is now establishing its military presence under the excuse of fighting ISIS. However, the truth is, it has a long-term project which is to dominate Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
The Iranian military presence on the ground will expand amid the current tensions and the increase of sectarian extremism in Syria and Iraq. This will thwart the coalition’s project to eliminate the terrorist ISIS, because the organization with the presence of the sectarian Popular Mobilization forces, will make Sunni areas establish groups to fight back.
Heading towards borders raises a series of questions about the seriousness of the international campaign to fight ISIS and opens battle fronts with the armed Kurds whom the Popular Mobilization forces pass through their areas. It subjects the crossing of an Iraqi armed organization into another country, Syria in this case, to legal questioning, like what’s happening to Turkish forces in Iraq.
Iran is trying to impose a fait accompli on international forces, including on its ally Russia after it sensed a partial switch in its stance. It was reported that the Russians said they have to deal with Iran and its foreign militias during this current phase because they are present on the ground. This is what Iran is trying to confirm by transferring thousands of Iraqi fighters and others to North Iraq to cross into Syria.
Iran with its activity will tear Iraq apart and rip Syria apart even more. It will increase the risks of terrorism which benefits from chaos and conflicts among the different axes. It does not make sense for concerned parties to seek a political solution in Astana or Geneva and leave Iranian military leaders to sabotage the situation and thwart international efforts.
What’s required is intensifying the pressure on Iran and prioritizing it before the necessity to expel all foreign fighters.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.
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