Iran's Positions on Syria

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Abolqasem Qasemzadeh

Secretary-General of the United Nations has announced that last week’s bomb attack in Syria has been carried out by Al-Qaeda operatives. About 50 Syrian citizens died in the attack and more than 400 were injured. Although the operation was condemned by both the United States and Russia, the governments of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the Zionist regime of Israel called it a reaction to massacre of the Syrian “fighters” by the incumbent President Bashar Assad’s government. Western media only gave cursory coverage to the explosion and did not delve into its details in depth. The Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that his country is being threatened by terrorists that aim to trigger a full-blown civil war in the country. He added that their goal is to create an atmosphere of fear and panic in the Syrian society. Assad noted that a few days ago, an official poll institute in the United States had announced that Bashar Assad still enjoys the backing of the majority of the Syrian people for his reforms. Therefore, the Syrian president concluded, such bomb attacks will further enrage the Syrian people against Bashar Assad’s opposition.

Head of the UN observers or “peacekeepers” in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, talked to Iran's ambassador to Damascus, Mohammad-Reza Raouf Sheibani, last week. Following the meeting, Mood noted that Iran's positions on Syria are in line with the United Nations’ stances on the country. He also asked Iran to support peace efforts in the crisis-stricken country. He also emphasized on Iran's important role in the Middle East developments and noted that Iran's help is of substantial importance to the realization and success of the six-article initiative proposed by the UN envoy, Kofi Annan.

Two political currents are still actively involved in the Syrian crisis. One current has set the fall of Bashar Assad as its main goal and is led by an alliance of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel with the United States being the main pivot of this current. The current believes that any change and fundamental development in Syria depends on the fall of Bashar Assad’s government. It has recognized a group of Bashar Assad’s opponents and calls it the “Syrian National Council.” That group is using petrodollars supplied to it by the Saudi and Qatari governments to buy various kinds of weapons and explosives to use them for military operations in Syria. This current is faced with two major problems. The first problem is deep rifts and major differences among political groups opposing Bashar Assad both inside and outside Syria. Burhan Ghalioun, who has been chosen to lead Assad’s opponents outside the country as well as domestic armed groups, has recently handed in his resignation as a result of escalation of internal differences and conflicts among opposition groups. According to the daily Guardian, as tension and internal differences escalate among various Syrian opposition groups, Burhan Ghalioun announced that he is ready to resign his position due to serious criticism against him.

The second problem is effectiveness of reforms introduced by President Assad in Syria. The Syrian people demand these reforms as the main path to any major change in their country and support Bashar Assad’s reform goals. That support has made the opposition realize that its social base in Syria is very weak and it does not enjoy people’s widespread support. Kofi Annan’s peace initiative is also progressing despite all obstacles. So far, 200 UN observers or “peacekeepers” have been positioned in Syria and their number is supposed to increase to 300 according to the relevant decision of the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera, and Saudi-funded Al Arabiya television stations continue to talk about imminent threat of civil war in Syria in an effort to show to the world that the situation in the country is greatly disturbed and disorderly.

The London-based BBC as well as the Voice of America (VOA) follow the same line in their Arabic and Persian news broadcasts by fabricating reports about continuation of people’s massacre in Syria. In the meantime, they avoid of the least mention of the ongoing terrorist operations and explosions which target the ordinary people in Syria. Creating doubts about the possible success of Kofi Annan’s plan is another goal of this media and propaganda line.

When realities on the ground are examined from inside Syria, or through field study, it is clear that Bashar Assad is serious about his proposed reforms and recent parliamentary election has further increased popularity of his reforms in the Syrian society.

On the other hand, damages resulting from explosions and conflicts between the Syrian army and small armed groups have remarkably increased in certain parts of Syria, especially in a few big cities.

The cost of rebuilding damages keeps skyrocketing at a time that Bashar Assad’s government is facing serious constraints as a result of sanctions imposed on the country by the United States, the European Union, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Syria’s public security is also facing serious threats and people expect repetition of terrorist and destructive operations at any moment.

The second current is a foreign current outside Syria which supports Kofi Annan’s plan as well as Bashar Assad’s reforms. Three countries are prominent supporters of this current, which include Russia, China, and Iran. Firstly, they pursue establishment of security in Syria and believe that Kofi Annan’s plan is a good means of reaching that goal. Secondly, they call for the implementation of reforms in Syria which will entail replacement of a single-party political system for a multiparty one. It also supports implementation of the Syria’s new constitution according to which the existing political system in Syria will turn into a parliamentary – presidency system based on people’s votes.

Positions taken by Iran, as a major member of this current, on the situation in Syria are characterized by a number of indices:

1. Necessity of political reforms in Syria;

2. Support for Bashar Assad’s reforms which will lead to major developments in Syria’s political system;

3. Rejection of any form of foreign intervention in Syria and any action which may lead to civil war in that country;

4. Keeping Syria, as a frontline country in the anti-Zionist front, intact as a means of supporting the rights of Palestinians; and

5. Cooperation with countries which seek political and economic growth and prosperity of Syria and want to see a powerful Syria in their bilateral relations instead of a weak one.

These positions have become more and more popular at international level in the light of the recent turn of events in the Syrian crisis. At the same time, positions taken by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia on the Syrian crisis are losing international popularity. Turkey and Israel seek to weaken Syria. The government of Turkey aims to make Syria a protectorate of its own by toppling Bashar Assad’s government in order to use the weak post-Assad Syria as a springboard for achieving its long-term political and economic goals. The Zionist regime of Israel, on the other hand, wants a weakened and defeated Syria in order to eliminate the resistance front. Syria and its future outlook are still hot topics of discussion. Iran's positions on Syria are gaining gradually increasing popularity in that country as well as in other Arab societies. Iran seeks to find a solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis through peaceful means which would entail respect for viewpoints of the Syrian people.

Key Words: Iran's Positions on Syria, Al-Qaeda Operatives, UN Peacekeepers, Bashar Assad, Civil War, Reforms, Qasemzadeh

Source: Ettelaat Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review

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