Iran's presence in Syria at Damascus' demand: Tehran

22 May, 2018, 22:14 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Two Israeli air force F-15s of the Knights of the twin tail 133 squadron fly over Ovda airbase near Eilat southern Israel during the 2017 Blue Flag exercise

In a rare show of public disagreement, Iran on Monday appeared to reject remarks from Russia's leader saying the Islamic Republic should pull its forces out of Syria after a political settlement is reached in the war-torn country.

Speculation is that the cargo was destroyed only a few hours after the plane had taken off back to Iran.

"For some Iranians used to looking more towards the Arab world than to south, central and east Asia, this may be a bitter pill to swallow, but when the choice is between a possibly deadly war with "Israel" and opening up new economic horizons to the east, the choice ought to be a clear one for any Iranian economic patriot". "There are some countries that have cooperative military relationships with Syria [such as Russia]". Nevertheless, an Iranian lawmaker quoted by Lebanon's Al-Manar television network, denied his country was behind the barrage. "We're not trying to impose this on the Syrians - this is unacceptable to them, both for the opposition and Damascus". Assad announced that he will be listing delegates for the Constitutional Committee that will work on amending the Syrian constitution. "This is just one more step toward accomplishing that goal".

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"The Israeli aggression on the T4 airport was carried out with F-15 planes that fired several missiles from above Lebanese land", Syrian state news agency SANA said. This is another indication that Moscow, the major stakeholder in Syria, wants to revive the political process in the hope of ending the conflict. Five days later, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was also in Moscow to review the repercussions of the U.S. exit from the nuclear deal - but it is likely that Israel-Iran tensions in Syria were also discussed.

It will be wrong to assume that Iran will give up its strategic objectives because of the Israeli response, but it will have to adjust their implementation to the concerns and interests of other parties. The fate of the nuclear deal is of utmost importance, especially to President Hassan Rouhani and the so-called moderate camp. Rouhani's window of opportunity to save the nuclear deal will be closing soon.

Syria's military says it has retaken the last neighborhoods in southern Damascus held by the Islamic State group and is declaring the capital and its surroundings "completely safe" and free of any militant presence. From that point of view, the two Israeli operations, in February and in May, can be described as "buying time" medicine, allowing Israel and Iran to consider their next steps, but also enabling third parties, primarily Russian Federation, to exert their influence in order to avoid the next direct confrontation between Israel and Iran. Rouhani is unlikely to yield to such conditions, as hardliners will accuse him of selling out to the West and its Arab allies. On the other hand, Israel with its sophisticated weapons and intelligence gathering tools will continue with its surgical strikes to spoil rebuilding of Iranian military in Syria beyond a specified level. In the months to come the events on May 9-10, 2018 could be seen as ushering in a new phase in solving the Syrian cube or at least, the Iranian-Russian-Israeli face of it. He said that the problem is Israel, because Tel Aviv is desperate to prevent Syria from becoming a direct danger, while Tehran would like to control Syria, sparking significant hostility.



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