There is an important premise that must be understood when it comes to Syria. That country has become a front in a battle between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood more than it’s about a dictator putting down a revolt. Notice that the Sunni world, to include the same Muslim Brotherhood that has been benefiting the most from the ‘Arab Spring’ is supporting Assad’s ouster. Iran has, for years, supported Assad and any threat to Assad is a threat to Iran, which is reportedly sending Assad reinforcements in the form of Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard.
Iran has significantly increased its involvement in Syria over the past few days, Ynet learned Monday.
The presence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah operatives assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s in his brutal crackdown of protesters now number in the high hundreds; while the Arab League said that it will not supply the rebels with arms unless the bloodshed comes to a halt.
The majority of Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in Syria supply Assad’s army with intelligence and train the Damascus forces on weapons’ maintenance and reconnaissance. A smaller group of operatives is involved in the actual fighting.
In order for the country of Syria to remain a wedge between Shiite and Sunni dominance, Iran will need to maintain control of that region. The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood has essentially been bagging countries for the last year. Conversely, Iran has for all intents and purposes, annexed Iraq. To use a football allegory, it’d be like one team being up 28-7.
To continue with the metaphor, if Syria is lost to the Sunnis, it’d be like throwing a “pick six” when you’re inside the other team’s five yard-line, about to score. Instead of the game being closer, at 28-14, it’s suddenly 35-7. The western media – as well as the Obama administration – has been painting the Sunni Brotherhood as a ‘moderate’ Islamic movement while allowing the image of Iran to be that of saber-rattling radicals. Though that is an accurate depiction of Iran, it’s an extremely INaccurate depiction of the Brotherhood.
Unlike Iran, the Brotherhood has put down roots within the halls of power in the United States while being able to sufficiently create the perception that its Hamas and CAIR entities are completely unrelated. Iran hasn’t been able to duplicate that model nearly as well. Hezbollah is the Shiite version of Hamas but it doesn’t have a CAIR equivalent, for example. Consequently, the Brotherhood has the advantage when it comes to winning the propaganda war in the west.
A distinct downside to that, other than Syria falling to the Brotherhood (Turkey), is U.S. support for the ouster of Assad. That will not only benefit a continued strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood but it will also anger Russia and China while provoking Hezbollah to hit the United States asymmetrically, which reports show that Iran has already indicated it will do. Remember, Hezbollah has a very quantifiable presence in both Mexico and Venezuela.
Iran’s financial aid is one of Assad’s lifelines, as it keeps the middle class in Damascus and Halab (Aleppo) from rising against him as well.
The Islamic Republic’s decision to bolster ties with Syria at a time when Tehran has to deal with growing international sanctions, imposed on it over its refusal to suspend its nuclear program, indicates that the ayatollah’s regime believes Assad and his government can survive the uprising.
The rebels have long claimed that Iran is helping Assad – an assessment backed by Britain and the United States.
Iran is definitely a threat to the region and to the West but the Obama administration’s disturbing tendency to side with the Muslim Brotherhood is dangerous all by itself without backing them in Syria.
That policy is dangerous for a whole host of reasons.