Now in its sixth month, the Syrian uprising is turning into a power struggle between regional rivals Turkey and Iran. After a little thought, Turkey seems to have decided that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad can no longer resist.
Now in its sixth month, the Syrian uprising is turning into a power struggle between regional rivals Turkey and Iran.
After a little thought, Turkey seems to have decided that the regime of President Bashar al-Assad can no longer resist. In recent weeks she had attended the conference on the establishment of an interim Syrian "Parliament" to prepare for the transition to democracy. The Turks also expressed support for new European Union sanctions against Syria, including an embargo on the import of oil and gas.
Turkey has some leverage: as the largest investor in Syria, with a total investment of over 25 billion us dollars, it asked its business investorov to refrain from new capital injections.
Ankara wants Assad resigned, handing power to an interim government reforms – a position supported by several regional powers, particularly Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Persian Gulf. The European Union also seems to want that Turkey played a leading role in Syria.
Iran, however, strongly against this scheme. Over the last ten years, Syria has become more of his client than the Federal government.
Iran supports afloat a moribund economy, Syria frequent injections of cash and investments considered to be of up to 20 billion dollars, and also gives Syria "gifts", including weapons worth $ 150 million a year. Sources in Tehran even claim that key members of Assad's entourage are on the Iranian content.
During the presidency of Bashar, the Iranian presence has grown massively. Iran has opened 14 cultural otdelov on Syria, primarily to spread its brand of Shiite Islam. The revolutionary guard of Iran also has a "coordination Bureau" in Damascus, which employs 400 military experts, and Syria is the only Mediterranean nation that has offered the Iranians the right to moor his Navy.
The two countries have signed a Pact of "mutual defense". Syria and North Korea are the only two countries with which Iran holds annual conferences of chiefs of staff.
Until last June, Tehran's leadership had a two-pronged approach by the Assad regime. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said publicly that the regime might "need to listen to the Syrian people." The Ministry of foreign Affairs announced a "temporary suspension" of travel to Syria.
But now the "Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei apparently has decided to throw Iran's weight on the bowl-Assad. "We cannot allow the conspirators prevailed in Syria", the newspaper "Kayhan", which was expressing the thoughts of Khamenei, in an editorial this week. "Those who are fighting with Syria, in fact, are fighting against the Islamic revolution in Iran." The article also warns: ". Turkey must know that the Islamic Republic will use all means at its disposal to ensure the failure of plots against Syria"
The implicit threat is that Tehran will resume its support of terrorist groups fighting in Turkey. In fact, Tehran has already lifted the ban on the movement of the armed elements of the Kurdistan workers ' party, which fights for an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey and operates the mountainous area at the border with Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
Iran is trying hard to mobilize regional support for Assad, but his only ally in this - Hezbollah supported Lebanese government.
Iranian pressure on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still failed to convince Baghdad to support al-Assad and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani demanded that Assad left his post.
Several Arab States are waiting, believing that without solid support from the USA, Turkish migration strategies are not credible.
Jordan would very much like to see the fall of Assad, whose father tried to kill king Hussein, father of the current king Abdullah. Iraq, also get rid of the BA'ath party of Saddam Hussein, would like to see overthrown and the Baathist regime in Syria. But both countries worry that prolonged turmoil in Syria could produce a flood of refugees that they could not cope without the support of the major powers, especially America.
Egypt came out of its despotic nightmare, would also welcome the fall of Assad. But he also cares about confusing signals from Washington.
The Arab Spring provided a chance to change the middle East. The question is, who will benefit from them – and how.
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