In the first week of August political traffic by senior officials escalated dramatically amongst Western and Arab capitals, all focused on the deteriorating crisis in Syria and political solutions for this issue. The latest such meeting took place in Tehran with Assad’s top diplomat Walid Mualem meeting with senior Iranian regime officials. He met with his Iranian counterpart and afterwards the Russian deputy foreign minister exchanging thoughts on the critical situation in Syria, mainly focusing on economic and security issues.
Doha recently witnessed a meeting between the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia discussing the situation in Syria. The top US diplomat then went on to meet with his Malaysian counterpart again on this subject.
Following Iran’s nuclear agreement with the P5+1, the regime was attempting to change its approach on meddling in the Middle East and exporting terrorism to these countries. The first such step was proposing negotiations with the Syrian opposition, also having Russia join in as company in these talks. The main question is that is the Iranian regime seeking to establish peace in Syria, and are its proposals actually aimed at preventing further bloodshed, or are they pursuing other objectives?
What is obvious is that there have been no changes in the status of the Iranian regime, and these measures are due to pressures from western countries and the US, and Tehran wants to show that it is attempting to shift its perspective on international issues, especially the Middle East. Of course, this is considered yet another consequence of Iran giving into the nuclear agreement in Vienna, and it will go on to create a huge rift amongst the Iranian regime’s leadership. Tehran’s main approach is to gain control over the Syrian opposition after they obtained many victories on the ground in the past month, and the mullahs are seeking to both stop their advances and provide a chance for Assad forces to reorganize their ranks and files. On the other hand, Iran is also seeking to create cracks and dissent amongst the Syrian opposition.
However, what has been said so far is that Iran has accepted to have the Syrian constitution revised, and the country is to hold parliamentary and presidential elections.
The important issue that Syrian opposition forces must take into notice is the Geneva-1 statement that the international community stamped in approval, and the emphasis of a transition government mission to provide a safe and impartial environment for the Syrian people to freely participate in their country’s political transition process. This is exactly the very subject that Iran is attempting to tarnish and distort.
“There is no possibility for sound elections in Syria when security apparatuses have the situation under a tight grip,” former Syrian National Coalition president Hadi al-Bahra said. In my opinion this is a very correct statement and no room must be allowed for Iranian plans as Tehran is seeking to maintain Assad in power and undermine the Syrian opposition.
What has become crystal clear these days is that the Assad regime has lost control over Syria. Decisions are made by the Iranian regime for Damascus. Iran’s meddling through sectarian militants continues on the ground in Syria. Talks are continuing at a time when Iran’s Quds Force officers are present in battlefields alongside Lebanese Hezbollah militants, Assad forces and also Iraqi and Iranian militants. The bottom line: Iran is in full control over Assad and his remaining grounds in Syria.
Tehran is attempting to lessen the Syrian opposition’s military momentum, resorting to the same tactics of the past three years as it created divides amongst the opposition.
Now, I would like to finish by focusing my words to Syrian opposition groups: under no circumstances should you sit across one table in talks with the Iranian regime. Tehran is thinking of nothing but your complete annihilation.