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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tehran-Damascus axis of evil

Iran is reported to be helping Syria to put down the uprising against the Assad regime. Apparently, the snipers who have been firing on civilian protesters include at least some Iranian troops. Granted, Iran and Syria have a treaty, but when has loyalty ever run this deep in the Middle East (except when it comes to hating Israel and sometimes not even then)? Amir Taheri explains (for those without Wall Street Journal access, you can read it here).
The Assad regime has a larger strategic importance for the Islamic Republic. "We want to be present in the Mediterranean," Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech last month in Tehran, marking the arrival in the Syrian port of Latakia of a flotilla of Iranian warships. This was the first time since 1975 that Iranian warships had appeared in the Mediterranean.

Indeed, Iran could build a presence in the Mediterranean through Syria and Lebanon. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has already developed mooring facilities in the Syrian port as a prelude to what may be a full-scale air and naval base.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, who believes that the United States is in historic retreat, sees Iran as the successor to the defunct Soviet Union as the principal global challenger to what he says is "a world system, imposed by Infidel powers." The loss of Syria would puncture many of Mr. Ahmadinejad's aspirations.

Over the years, it is possible that Iran has built a network of contact and sympathy within the Syrian military and security services. It may now be using that network to encourage hardliners within the beleaguered Assad regime to fight on.

From the start, Tehran media have labelled the Syrian uprising "a Zionist plot," the term they used to describe the pro-democracy movement in Iran itself. In 2009, the mullahs claimed that those killed in the streets of Tehran and Tabriz were not peaceful demonstrators but "Zionist and Infidel" agents who deserved to die. The Assad clan is using the same vicious vocabulary against freedom lovers in Syria as snipers kill them in the streets of Damascus, Deraa and Douma.
This is more proof that the US, Israel and the Saudis all ought to be interested in Assad's downfall. So why aren't they doing something to push him out? Hmmm....

Read the whole thing.

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