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US Strikes on Syria: Viewpoints of Iranian Experts – Part 1

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ahmad Naqibzadeh
Professor of Political Science at Tehran University

Last Friday, the United States launched missile attacks on an air base in Syrian province of Homs. Two points are noteworthy in this regard:

- Firstly, in view of the reaction that Russia showed to US attack on Syria, it is not likely that the attack will continue and US President Donald Trump will be willing to turn it into a long-term war;

- The second point, however, is the psychological impact of this attack on Syrian opposition. This attack will be greatly effective in this regard, and as its result, the Syrian opposition groups, which had largely lost hope, have regained new hope and will intensify their assaults against the central government in Damascus.

 

Ja'far Haqpanah
Assistant Professor of Regional Studies at the University of Tehran, Iran

One of the effective factors in this attack is the dynamism in domestic political environment within the United States and the effort made by the administration of Donald Trump, the incumbent US president, to reduce domestic pressure on him following recent debacles and setbacks through a show of force in Syria. However, it seems unlikely that the current political atmosphere in the United States would allow Trump to continue with his interventionist policy in Syria.

At the regional level, this attack has intensified tensions between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and will increase uncertainties. Trump's behavior is characterized with unpredictability and unwillingness to use consultation and coordinate his actions even with US allies. As a result, his behavior has even surprised Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. On the whole, such occasional steps are not probable to bring about a serious change in regional balance even in medium term.

The third point is about the analysis of Syrian crisis at international level. In view of the existing deadlock and balance in this crisis, both at domestic and regional levels, the role played by big actors has become increasingly important. Therefore, the United States has been trying not to lag behind Russia in this regard and take the initiative from Moscow. However, the approach taken by Trump's political and security team has not been based on increasing tensions with Russia and it is highly possible that these two powers will reach an agreement in order to prevent further escalation of the crisis. The future meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump will lay out the general outlines of such an agreement between these two big powers on Syria.

 

Mojtaba Maqsoudi
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Analyst

It is still too soon to give any analysis or comments on the United States air and missile strikes on some military positions of Bashar Assad’s government. It is clear that the military action taken by the United States will affect the existing situation and equation and will make the current fragile conditions even more sensitive and prone to change. A few propositions must be taken into account in this regard:

- Firstly, a short time has lapsed since a visit to Russia by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, during which, the two countries signed a host of agreements. Have possible changes in the two countries’ common support for Syria been predicted?

- Secondly, Russia had been informed of the US attack on Syria;

- Thirdly, what conclusions can be derived from a recent announcement by leaders in the Kremlin to the effect that Russia’s support for Bashar Assad and the Syrian government is limited in scope?

- Fourthly, a recent visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russia and the surprising position taken by Moscow through recognizing West al-Quds as the capital of Israel, must be also taken into account;

- Fifthly, the new US administration needed a rapid and successful move in the field of foreign relations in order to make the country’s leadership more consolidated and put an end to the crisis that Washington is facing with regard to both management of internal situation in the country and its foreign relations;

- Sixthly, a flurry of diplomatic trips and visits has been going on across the region during past weeks, which make the situation even more sensitive;

- Seventhly, it seems that Russians are ready for other deals within framework of their national interests, as a result of which, their positions on the crisis in Syria may further change;

- Eighthly, gradual withdrawal of Russians from the current alliance with Iran and Syria will make the situation more difficult for the latter two actors and will undermine their positions in favor of their regional allies such as Saudi Arabia.

 

*More by Ahmad Naqibzadeh:
*The Future of Tehran-Paris Relations: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/The_Future_of_Tehran_Paris_Relations.htm
*Americans, More Reliable than Russians: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Americans_More_Reliable_than_Russians.htm

 

*More by Ja'far Haqpanah:
*Astana Conference on Syria, a Different Meeting: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Astana-Conference-on-Syria-a-Different-Meeting-2.htm
*Kurdish Developments in the Middle East: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Kurdish-Developments-in-the-Middle-East.htm
*It Is Time for Turkey and Daesh to Part Ways: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/It-Is-Time-for-Turkey-and-Daesh-to-Part-Ways.htm

*Source: Faratab

*These views represent those of the authors and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

 

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