Monday, May 27, 2024
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Monday, May 27, 2024

Assad’s dilemma as Iran’s Mullahs flex their muscles

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With the launch of Iranian missiles from Iranian territories towards Israeli targets, Iran became directly involved in a war with Israel after a quarter-century of expanding its military capabilities in regional countries to deal with Israeli influence amidst the strategic vacuum of the Arab region caused by the authoritarian regimes that control the geopolitical capacities of Arab countries without exception.

According to The New York Times, which relied on Israeli sources, Iran launched more than 300 projectiles, including 185 drones, 36 missiles, and 110 surface-to-surface missiles, towards Israeli targets. Most of the drones and missiles were launched from Iranian territories, with a few launched from Iraq and Yemen. The ABC news network quoted an American official saying that nine Iranian missiles penetrated Israeli defenses and hit two air bases with minimal damage, including the base from which Israeli aircraft took off to eliminate Iranian officers in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

the war will expand beyond the calculations of all parties, and the war between Iran and Israel, if it expands, is expected to be long-term

According to the rules of engagement between Iran and Israel – which were slightly shaken following the Israeli strike that killed key Iranian officers operating in Syria and Lebanon who were holding a meeting in the building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus – the Israeli-Iranian war will remain limited until the arrival of Iranian missiles (which have a range of 40 km) in southern Rosh Hanikra. At that point, the war will expand beyond the calculations of all parties, and the war between Iran and Israel, if it expands, is expected to be long-term, potentially lasting decades, exhausting most of the development resources in the region as economic resources are diverted to fund the war.

In the near term, if the battlefield widens, it will revolve in southern Syria, specifically in As-Suwayda, Daraa, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon from Sidon to Tyre to Rosh Hanikra. This may result in the creation of a new state encompassing areas such as Sidon, Tyre, Mount Hermon, Sa’sa’, Hauran, As-Suwayda, and possibly the Jordanian region of Zarqa. It can be said that the option of annexing the Zarqa and Ar-Ramtha areas has diminished following Jordan’s removal from direct Israeli targeting due to the effective role of the Jordanian, American, British, and French armies in destroying Iranian drones and ballistic missiles before reaching their Israeli targets.

No one knows what the situation may mean for Syrians in the future as the days are pregnant with strategic changes in the balances of regional powers and conflicts in the region. This requires those claiming to represent the Syrian opposition to address two issues.

Firstly, it is studying the position of former Syrian President Shukri al-Qawatli and the national bloc that managed Syria during World War II as well as his management of regional and international political alliances which ultimately led to the departure of French forces from Syrian territories.

Secondly, and most importantly, it is working to build a legitimate national representation that removes it from the circle of humiliation resulting from its reliance on alliances outside the interests of the Syrian people. This will give Syrians the ability to confront the main threat facing the residents of Hauran. This requires flexible policies in line with the developments of the military situation as any wrong stance could result in the irreversible displacement of Hauran residents from the land of the Ghassanids.

it appears that Iran has begun losing most of its allies in Syria since the start of the Gaza war

It can be said that the declared position of the Damascus government since October 7th has been to distance itself from participating in military operations in which Iranian proxies are involved against Israel. Coupled with intensified Israeli targeting of Iranian forces on Syrian territories and the emergence of a wing from the Damascus authority openly expressing opposition to Iranian presence in Syria, it appears that Iran has begun losing most of its allies in Syria since the start of the Gaza war. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all Syrians to confront the main danger facing displaced Syrians in Lebanon. This requires flexible dialogue policies with the leaders of local Lebanese communities to shield Syrians from the risks of genocide, which would be one of the biggest threats looming over them, regardless of whether the Iran-Israel conflict remains limited or expands.

Moustafa Alsaied
Moustafa Alsaied
Syrian Journalist

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