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|Assadism without Assad|
This is neither an introduction of thrilling fairytale, nor is a Syrian TV’s fantasy series which keep the whole Arabic nations in front of screens for long hours. It is the absolute truth confirmed by ten years of governance by the Assad’s heir-son, Bashar, who did nothing, except changing some of the regional alliances that his father built earlier. In this web of alliances, the Syrian-Iranian alliance is the paramount one, and the main pillar of Iran’s geopolitical project for the region.
Since the eighties and regardless of political changes in the region, this ideological alliance enabled the Iranian project to extend its regional influence like a cancer from Iran through Iraq and Syria to the Amel Mountain in Lebanon; where this ideology was originated centuries ago.
As for Hafez Assad, Iran was his deadly weapon against his archenemy and fellow Bath party member Saddam Hussein, especially after the failure of the 1979 ‘coup d’état’ which Hafez engineered against Saddam. The Iranian alliance provided Hafiz Assad with a strategic depth that allowed him to enhance his influence with Arab countries to the south of Syria and Gulf states which were fearful of Iraqi victory in the 1980 war between Iraq and Iran. This alliance also allowed Assad to strengthen his influence in Lebanon, where in 1501 Shah Ismail Safawi declared the Twelve’s Shiite sect as the official religion of the Safawi state, and brought Shiite religious scholars and imams from the ‘Amel’ mountain to Iran to consecrate and spread the Shiite sect.
During Hafez Al Assad rule, Syria was the senior party in this alliance; it supplied Iran with weapons and experts. In 1982 Hafez Al Assad played an instrumental role in the creation of Hezbollah, Iran’s military proxy in Lebanon. In contrast to his father, Bashar allowed Syria to become the junior party in this alliance. Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence apparatus infiltrated Syria. Furthermore, Iranian missionaries are spreading the Shiite doctrine among Syria’s poor population.
After the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the expulsion of Syrian troops from Lebanon, Iran interfered in all aspects of Syrian politics. Syria became just another satellite of the Iranian regime, like Iraq under its sectarian government after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Iranian interference in Syrian affairs was revealed in its ugliest forms by the involvement of its Revolutionary Guard along the Syrian Security’s gangs called “Shabiha” in their continuous and excessive violent repression of Syrian peaceful demonstrators since the outbreak of the revolution in mid-march last year. The Iranian militia, Basij, supplied the Assad’s regime security gangs with equipment, military and intelligence expertise to suppress this popular uprising.
This is the Assad ideology which was founded by Hafiz, the allay of the Iranian mullahs since the Khomeini revolution in 1979, and the only Arab state that sided with Iran during its war with Iraq which lasted until 1998, in spite of its declared Arab nationalism slogans. Under his rule, Syria was the safe passage for weapons to Hezbollah who enhanced Iranian influence in the region and enabled Iran to play a central role in regional affairs. Today Hezbollah’s arssenal is about 40 thousand rockets.
The collapse of the Assad’s regime in Syria is going to reignite the Green Movement in Iran and push it back to the street to reclaim it ambitious revolution to over throw the mullah’s regime and to build a civic society. It will also return Iran to its original sphere of influence before the Iran Iraq war. Further more, it will also end the mullah’s influence in Gaza and their unconditional support of Hamas and Hezbollah.
If the Green Belt theory which was advanced by former president Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who stipulated that the creation of Islamic states in the Middle East supported by the United States, could provide the best alternatives to authoritarian regimes was true at the time of Khomeini, it is no longer valid today after the fall of Arab dictators in the Arabic Spring. Iran maybe left with only one strategic choice in its relation with the United States and that is to sacrifice Bashar Al Assad, in order to safe its proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon who may take over Lebanon, to provide a substitute to the falling Assad regime.