Various Syrian opposition forces last week held a summit in Riyadh of Saudi Arabia where they reached important common grounds that can be a starting point to end the war and bloodshed in Syria, or at least shorten its duration significantly; however, this agreement has infuriated the mullahs’ regime in Iran. The question is why has Tehran become so angry in response to this opposition summit and a perspective of the war ending in Syria?
The Syrian opposition conference, hosted and organized by the Saudi government, is considered a blow to the Iranian regime from various viewpoints:
Firstly, the mere formation and holding of such a conference gathering various political and military groups and forces, all under one roof in the Saudi capital, was in itself a serious success for those opposing the Assad regime, and a major defeat for Damascus and its main ally, being Tehran.
Secondly, these forces were able to reach agreements on two different subjects, the most important of which was electing a delegation for the New York negotiations to represent the various groups. These talks began on December 18th and are to last for 5 days. The Iranian regime has in its propaganda claimed this summit will end in a failure and different Syrian groups will not be able to reach an agreement. Tehran focused its propaganda and hindering measures in this regard to the utmost extent.
Thirdly, the Iranian regime was completely secluded in this whole trend, as it stood out as the elephant in the room, being the only party alongside the Bashar Assad regime and against this conference. According to various reports even Russia was in agreement with this conference and on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Moscow, with his talks focusing on Syria and the decisions made in the Syria conference. Political analysts believe this visit was based on Washington and Moscow’s agreement on various issues regarding Syria, or else Kerry would have never travelled to Moscow.
On the other hand, many political experts consider the U.S. actively entering the subject of Syria and its backing of the Riyadh conference as a major shift in gear that will accelerate all developments.
Another matter that has further politically isolated the Iranian regime and is strategically important is the Iranian regime’s series of defeats inside Syria. The main sign is the killing of its highest ranking Revolutionary Guards commanders in Syria, and Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani being severely wounded and forced to return to Iran. News reports indicate that as a result of these defeats the Iranian regime has been forced to withdraw its forces from active battlegrounds in Syria. This report was published a few days ago by Bloomberg news agency and The Washington Post, and even the regime’s own outlets cited these developments. Another sign of the regime’s withdrawal being a policy matter is seen in the remarks made by a regime parliament member during an open-door session last Tuesday. Apparently he literally described the Assad regime as the murderer of the Syrian people. He also blasted the policy of supporting such a regime. It is also good to know that in that meeting none of the other parliament members said a word or jumped into his remarks.
These are all signs of the beginning of the end of the Iranian regime’s main pillar of it strategic depth in the Middle East. Let’s not forget that Tehran officials have described Syria as Iran’s 35th province, and losing Syria will have more devastating impacts than its nuclear setbacks.