The regional dimensions of Syrian conflict

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

The Russian-American dispute can be seen in Ukraine and other areas of competition such as in Syria. Iran’s project to control the Arab North up to Turkey’s border is going as planned, just like it’s been warned.

Turkey’s worry that the crisis will spill over into its territories led it to shift its defensive policy to an offensive one by launching an operation in Syria’s Afrin. Israel has also become a major party in the war there.

It’s normal for the region to be influenced by the quick developments and powers’ conflicts in Syria. The countries that are can be harmed by the consequences of the conflict in Syria are the surrounding countries, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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These consequences may also harm the Gulf and Iran. The Iranians intentionally opened the Yemeni front against Saudi Arabia to weaken it and get it out of the conflict in Syria so they can easily win there. We must admit that they succeeded at that.

Yemen’s developments are a result of the severe regional conflict and they show that letting Iran take over Syria, Lebanon and Iraq will not simply end there. Iran’s control over Lebanon enabled it to take over Syria by using Hezbollah which it nurtured to be its regional power.

Iran also used some Lebanese institutions to support its operations in Syria and it used Lebanon to support its Yemeni proxy, the Houthis.

Iran resembles a house made of glass following protests which erupted in dozens of cities and raised slogans demanding its exit from Syria

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

All possibilities

The conflict in Syria is open to all possibilities as the recent clashes can either serve as a positive factor that forces all major parties to agree on solutions that avoid direct wars and minimize losses or they can have negative results and expand the conflict.

The latter scenario is more likely to happen. Although the US secretary of defense reiterated that they are militarily present in Syria to confront ISIS, this does not deny the fact that fighting terrorism calls for confronting Iranian and Syrian powers that used organizations, like ISIS, to justify their military activity against civilians and allied with terror groups against Syrian rebels.

I think when controlling the conflict between Russia, America, Iran, Turkey and Israel fails, Iraq will be the most prone to danger since it’s still recovering from its battles with ISIS, the Kurdish separation and the increased divisions between sectarian powers which include Shiites, Sunnis and the Popular Mobilization. This is more so considering divisions are like a time bomb that threatens the central authority.

Pursuing Kurds

Turkey is also more prone to danger if it engages in battles against the Syrian regime’s allies or insists to pursue Kurds who are allied with the US. Israel is in the eye of the storm but it has enough power and alliances to be less vulnerable to threats – although one of their jets was downed and the Iranians infiltrated their airspace.

We cannot discuss the repercussions of the conflict in Syria without stating that Iran itself is subject to threats. Iran resembles a house made of glass following the protests which erupted in dozens of cities and raised slogans demanding its exit from Syria and suspend financial and military support the regime’s allies, the Lebanese Party Hezbollah and the Hamas Movement in Gaza.

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The expansion of the war in Syria threatens the Khamenei regime in Tehran because it will require more bloodshed, money and defeats. The Iraqi war in the last decade proved that the entire region is subject to conflict and divisions no matter how much it looks like it’s governed with clear rules of engagement.

The only things that guarantee the security and stability of countries that are surrounded with war are believing in collective security and putting an end to greedy and expansive political projects.

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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.