by Zvi Lando
Is Assad dead?
That is the big question today, so big it hides behind it many other questions, and conspiracy theories – just the thing the Middle East loves to make up.
I really don’t know if Assad is dead, and it doesn’t seem there are many that do know, and those that know are not talking.
I am going to go against my better judgment and say this. There are many things people say about Syria which seem dislocated from reality, so let’s start by making a list some of the things we do know:
- Assad, should he ever “win” this war will forever be hard pressed to continue to rule Syria. There will always be a deep resentment against him among the Syrian people.
- Iran, and it’s proxy, The Hezbollah have put a lot on the line in their support of Assad. They did this in order to make sure their “crescent” held, linking Iran with Syria and Lebanon.
- Putin, the Russian leader has put given Assad his whole support, something he promised to do, something Russia promised to do. In doing so, he has reinstated Russia as a world power in the eyes of many. Oh, and he strengthened his base on the Mediterranean Sea at Latakia.
- Obama, the former President of the United States, did not do what he promised, and regardless that his supporters do not realize, managed to harm US integrity with just about all of its allies in the process.
- Donald Trump is not Obama.
I left out Israel, mainly since Israel did its best to keep out of the regional fighting, intervening only when deemed important to Israeli interests.
Which brings us to the second, main part. What are the interests here? I will, again, list them.
- Iran, like I said, wants to keep control of Syria to continue this “crescent”. They also want an atomic bomb. Will they use it or not, it is obvious that just having it puts the Mullah Regime into a whole different league in which they will be able to exploit smaller, weaker states to comply to their wishes, something the Mullahs have proven to be great at.
- Russia wants to be a world superpower. To be respected as such. Their “alliance” with Iran and the proxy Hezbollah is not a natural one. I doubt that Russia will feel good with a strong, nuclear Iran on its borders.
- The USA, under Trump wants its integrity back. It wants to go back to forming a world which can be managed and trusted. In short – it wants to undo what Obama did and much like Putin in Russia, to turn the clock back.
If what I am saying makes sense, the following seems clear:
- USA and Russia, if they can give and take here (which means: splitting the Middle East up while working together in a shared vision) – are current allies.
- Iran is in a tight spot. It knows the good old Obama days are gone. It knows that if USA and Russia wish to, it will be thrown out of Syria. It will lose its sway over Lebanon. It will lose tremendous power. It knows an alliance between Russia and America will be able to contain it, most notably in the nuclear area.
I guess you notice I haven’t mentioned Assad. Assad who?