Iran and Russia have long been sending troops and material to help Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad wage war against his own people. While his alawite clan, the vanguard of Al-Assad nepotism guards the throne of Assad which Hafez al-Assad forcefully seized through a coup. As things happen like, we have Assadists most commonly from Eastern European nations, Anti American Putin fan boys and the Shiite community in large aid and abet (through online activism and social media) this ongoing slaughter of Syrians. Without the Shiite auxiliaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon whose recruitment and transfer is organised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Assad’s rule would long since have come to an end.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard has long planned and carried out the most important missions and operations of the Syrian regime. They were responsible, right down to the details, for the sporadically successful offensives in Aleppo in the north and Daraa in the south, which began in 2013. In Iran, the Revolutionary Guard is one of those groups intent on continuing the “Shia Revolution” the victory of Shiites over the Sunnis. They are a state within a state, one which owns several companies and is answerable only to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. President Hassan Rohani has no power over the Revolutionary Guard whatsoever.
Their goals go far beyond merely reestablishing the status quo in Syria. In early 2013, Hojatoleslam Mehdi Taeb, one of the planners behind Iran’s engagement in Syria, said: “Syria is the 35th province of Iran and it is a strategic province for us.” For several decades, the alliance between the Assads and Iran was a profitable one, particularly in opposition to the Iraq of Saddam Hussein, which long had the upper hand in the region. But today, Assad depends on Iran to remain in power, and Tehran is taking advantage of the situation.
Talib Ibrahim, a Syrian journalist from the Alawite community who fled to the Netherlands many years ago, summaries the mood as follows: “Assad wants the Iranians as fighters, but increasingly they are interfering ideologically with domestic affairs. The Russians don’t do that.”
That’s why Assad has now decided to place his fate in the hands of the religiously unproblematic Russia, which last week transferred aircraft and troops to its military base in the northern Syrian town of Latakia (Turkish border, Turkey shot down one of their SU-24 attacking fighter jets this month) and began flying airstrikes. The fight against the Islamic State terror militia served as a pretext for the operation, but the initial air strikes have not targeted the Islamists at all. Rather, they have been flown against areas controlled by Syrian rebels.