Prior to the US, France and Britain strikes, there were rumors circulating that the Syrian regime and Russian government offered to get Iran and its militias out of Syria as part of reaching a proposed settlement, in return for refraining from attacking, and engaging in a new political process.
If we assumed that this offer was proposed, would it be acceptable?
Certainly, it is better than a limited strike. But the problem is that these three parties are used to promoting lies. Even the Russians have lost their credibility due to their supporting of the claims of Damascus and Tehran. In the chemical weapon attack on Douma, they went back to creating the same old stories, that the opposition were the ones who executed the attack against themselves and that the UN should pursue field investigations. That’s how they waste time and minimize the crisis.
It is obvious that the genocide and revenge mentality is dominant in Damascus and Tehran, or else there would have been no compelling reasons to make them use chlorine gas and the nerve agent Sarin against civilians in DoumaAbdulrahman al-Rashed
The evil axis
Without credibility, there is no way to engage with the evil axis in finding political solutions or projects, as they are probably just going to be like medical drugs. The Syrian regime survived the military sanctions imposed on it when the Russians suggested, on September 2013, that the regime hand over their chemical weapon stocks to UN inspectors. Thus it was moved and the regime claimed that this was all it had, but wehave come to find now that there are more in their hideouts.
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What is more dangerous than the fakeness, is that the regime is ready to go to extremes without considering the consequences. These are the old characteristics of the regime that the world thought may have changed and became more flexible due to the civil war circumstances.
It is obvious that the genocide and revenge mentality is dominant in Damascus and Tehran, or else there would have been no compelling reasons to make them use chlorine gas and Sarin nerve agent against civilians in Douma. The role of the Revolutionary Guard’s generals is important in this war, as they have been leading several battles in Syria for the past three years, and they have a reputation for being brutal. They have also become famous for performing horrifying revenge operations with their militias.
Let’s go back to talking about the coming few days, considering that the military response against using chemical weapons was executed and achieved its goal, which did not weaken the regime or its forces. US President Donald Trump wanted to deliver a message; that he means what he says and the message was understood.
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So what’s next? We are facing two interrelated cases, American sanctions against Iran, a fight that did not begin yet, and the second one is wanting to end the civilian war in Syria whether peacefully or not, or reach a solution in accordance with the regime, or create a new reality on the ground through military reserves, like the US project in eastern Syria in an area from which forces surveil and move when needed to fight ISIS or others. US sanctions against Iran will certainly weaken the regime in Tehran, create a better environment for a solution in Syria, and ease Iran’s control over Iraq and Lebanon.
Without the sanctions Tehran would continue to cause unrest in the region, and Syria might be the Achilles heel of Waliyat-al-Faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), which started to feel as if it is an invincible power there. One of the signs of overconfidence is that it turned Syria into a confrontational country against the Kurds and Israel, and from where it threatens the security of Lebanon and Iraq. According to the Iranian project, Syria will turn into a country of militias, all of which follow Iran, and it will also be used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a launching base targeting neighboring areas.
Can we believe that the regime in Damascus is capable of expelling the Revolutionary Guards and its militias out of Syria? It is very difficult. Chaos makes Syria a source of unrest, which perfectly suits Iran and Russia, who are looking for more reasons to be part of the regional issues and to ignite or extinguish battles.
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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