Analysts Discuss Syrian-Iranian Alliance
In an interview, Karim Sadjadpour with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, discussed the close relationship between Iran and Syria in the wake of the Arab upheavals. According to Sadjadpour, Iran welcomed the Arab unrest until it hit Syria. If President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime were to fall, it “would be a huge blow” to the Iranian regime and their support of Hezbollah. With the possibility of a new regime in Syria unfriendly towards Hezbollah, it would be difficult for Iran to continue to support the group.
Sadjadpour notes that even though the Iranian Foreign Minisiter, Ali Akbar Salehi, called for Assad to consider the protesters demands, Iran is privately supporting the Syrian regime. The strategy with Iranian hardliners is to never compromise under pressure as it shows weakness and could invite more pressure. Because of the important nature of Syria and Iran’s relationship, Sadjadpour believes Tehran is unequivocally supporting the Assad regime through various means.
A report by Michael Eisenstadt, director of The Washington Institute’s Military and Security Studies Program, notes that Iran’s strategic culture, especially alliances, are crucial to project their influence in the region. Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi warned against NATO intervention and stated that Syria is the “spearhead of resistance in the Middle East.”