“This agreement could be the key that unlocks solutions to some of the most intractable conflicts in the Middle East. The region suffers from a diplomacy deficit and the nuclear deal paves the way for an increase in dialogue and diplomacy on a whole set of issues – which is critical for stability in the Middle East,” said Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, August 27, 2015.
“Iran has sent hundreds of troops into northern and central Syria in the first such open deployment in the country’s civil war, joining fighters from its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in an offensive against rebels and taking advantage of cover from Russia’s air campaign, a regional official and Syrian activists said Wednesday.
“Their arrival is almost certain to fuel a civil war in Syria which has already claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and displaced half of the country’s population. It also highlights the far-reaching goals of Russia’s military involvement in Syria,” from the Associated Press, October 14, 2015.
You have to admire the chutzpah of Trita Parsi to shovel the kind of fragrant stuff he does only to be proven wrong time and time again, which begs the question of why anyone ever listens to him.
As the AP reports that upwards of 1,500 Iranian regime fighters begin arriving in Damascus, the picture in Syria is becoming increasingly bleak as combatants from Iran, Syria, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, U.S. and pretty much from every country in the European Union now rush in for what promises to be the start of a new phase of bloody sectarian conflict.
What is even more impressive about Parsi’s comment only two months ago was that he held out the promise of diplomacy when the Iran regime in fact had absolutely no interest in diplomacy. Instead, the mullahs are committed to a path of military conquest in an all-or-nothing scenario.
Whether intentionally or not, Syria has quickly shaped up to becomes the ultimate bellwether of the ability of the Iran regime to stay alive because of Assad falls, Russia is likely to take a dim view of Iranian promises since Syria contains the only naval base Russia has in the Mediterranean. The loss of Syria would also prove conclusively the mullahs have no ability to expand their dominion beyond using the kinds of terror tactics it has relied on for the past three decades.
The buildup comes as Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Tuesday that Tehran was working with Russia on drafting a peace plan for Syria. But Western powers, and many countries in the Middle East, say Assad must go as a precondition for peace.
Some peace plan, it just requires thousands of Iranian troops to make it work.
But the pending offensive in Syria also serves the Iran regime’s purposes by diverting attention from its other activities throughout the region as Tom Watson points out in The Independent:
“Events in Syria have, however, distracted attention away from Iran’s activities elsewhere in the region. Recently the Iranians were caught supplying weapons to Houthis rebels in Yemen, something Iran has long denied doing. Meanwhile, as a new report for The Henry Jackson Society: ‘Tehran’s Servants’ by Jonathan Spyer demonstrates, Iran has taken control of a vast force of Shia militias in Iraq that are now dominating much of the country. Western leaders may welcome these activities for helping to drive back IS, but no one should be under any illusions about just how extreme these Iranian-backed militias really are,” Watson writes.
“A glance across what is already a very troubled region endlessly turns up signs of Iranian involvement. Tehran has exploited the turmoil to advance its own hegemonic ambitions. It is doing exactly the same with the void left by Obama’s retreat from the world stage. Even as the Iranians look set to adopt the nuclear agreement, the Islamic Republic’s actual conduct rather suggests that the regime in Iran remains far from being a friendly or benign force in the world,” he added.
But why the rush by the regime in so many places around the world at once? The answer is simple: time is the enemy of the mullahs.
A presidential race in the U.S. will usher in what will most likely be a new president un-beholden to the nuclear agreement, and a new Congress eager to pass more sanction legislation against the regime on the wave of American public opinion polls showing vast dissatisfaction with Iran.
Military moves made by the regime have backfired in Syria, Iraq and Yemen and seen their allies in Hezbollah, Houthis and Shiite militias stall and even retreat from gains made earlier this year.
Ali Khamenei’s advanced age and recent health problems add to the uncertainty as does the surge in anti-regime protests that have now stretched into their third year and reveal a vast amount of discontent within the Iranian people.
The mullahs are on the clock and the big push in Syria is their wild last attempt to push all their chips on the table in a desperate bid to hang on.
Now if only Trita Parsi would tell us the offensive is just a new form of diplomacy then the cha rade would be complete.