Tehran has today taken the decision to politically involve itself
(in the Syrian crisis), warning the international community and
regional states against any unilateral intervention in Syria, and
even offering the possibility of helping out (in Syria). Why is
Iran doing this now?
The reasons for this are clear; Tehran wants to send a public
message to the Turks, prior to the “Friends of Syria” meeting,
warning them against taking any practical steps. Iran also wants
to send a threatening message to the Gulf states, particularly
Saudi Arabia and Qatar, not to physically support the Syrian
The other issue is that Tehran wants to say that
it is capable of convincing Assad to take action, although this is
unclear, for will Iran, for example, convince Assad to depart?
This is something that is not believable, alternatively have the
Iranians truly been convinced that the Assad card has been burned,
and they must therefore take action to reduce their losses
following his ouster, which means that Tehran must play some role
at this present time? Some might say that this is madness, and
here the question that arises is: How could Iran dare to say what
The answer to this is also clear, for as much as the Iranians are
aware of the intransigence of the Syrian revolution, they do not
see any seriousness on the part of US President Barack Obama to
intervene in Syria. Tehran believes that the Americans are hiding
behind Annan’s mission, which has allowed the Iranians to believe
that this is also an opportunity to intervene (in Syria).
reality is that Assad himself spared everybody the pain of saying
that his acceptance of Annan’s plan was not genuine, for he
himself came out – after he said that he had accepted this — to
say that there must be more discussion on Annan’s plan. This led
the US State Department to express its disappointment, however,
the real disappointment is in anybody — regardless of whomever it
is — believing in Assad’s promises in the first place.
belief in the lack of seriousness on the part of Obama has caused
Tehran to venture to transform Syria into a new Lebanon, in other
words that regional powers must sit down at the same table to
negotiate the future of Syria, as occurs with the formation of any
Lebanese government. However this would be a critical mistake, and
responding to this overture would be a crime, for Iran must not be
allowed to do this, in the same manner that it was allowed to
What the American must pay attention to can be summarized in the
important view put forward by a Syrian Army officer defector, who
said “as soon as Washington announces the departure of AWACS
(Airborne early warning and control system) planes or unmanned
drones to fly over Damascus and the rest of Syria, with the
objective of monitoring military position that they believe issue
orders to target civilians…at this time the world will be shocked
by the number of defections from the (Syrian) army” and this may
even increase the likelihood of a coup being carried out (against
Therefore Obama, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey
must publicly announce that Assad will not escape in the same
manner that he did following the assassination of Rafik Hariri,
and that his departure is guaranteed, whatever happens.
At this time, the situation in Syria
will begin to accelerate, particularly if we move forward with
regards to arming the (Syrian) revolutionaries on the ground;
doing otherwise means that we have begun to surrender our Arab
states — one after another — to Iran, and this would be a crime
against our future and security.
The above article
appeared in today's Arab News.
The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org