In the status quo of the Middle East, Syria acts as the source of mayhem and the spread of terrorism, and Iran is taking advantage of Syria as the exporter of terrorism to countries across the region and the entire globe.
The role of Iran and the Quds Force in maintaining Bashar Assad in power in Syria may not be so clear for all, and I would like to refer to a few remarks made by senior Revolutionary Guards commanders regarding the Quds Force’s role in Syria. Ismaeel Gh’ani, deputy commander of the Quds Force (second in command after Qassem Suleimani) has said the following:
“One of the prides of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force is the protection of the legitimate Syrian government in a time of civil war in this country. This was the Quds Force that foiled the plans of all western countries. We were the ones who did not allow the government to fall to the hands of terrorists. No one can deny this vital and very important role of ours.
“Assad must remember that we did not allow him to escape his country, at a time when we had even placed guards for him so he would not flee Syria. He had sent his family to Latakia and a message to the Russians to send a ship for him. It was us who said you don’t have right to exit the country because if he did Syria would have fallen.
“Shortage of men has always been one of the main problems. The Syrian army in 2011 when the war began had around half a million men. During the past 4 or more years of war, due to defections, desertions, draft dodging and casualties in the battlefield, right now they have around 65,000 forces. In comparison to 2011 the number of Syrian army troops has dropped dramatically. On the contrary, the enemy’s forces are increasing by the day. Currently there are around 5,000 officials Quds Force men present in Syria. There are also 7,000 Iraqi forces stationed in Syria and Aleppo. Most of the non-official forces present on Syrian soil have been stationed across the Damascus beltway. Other than Hezbollah forces, who are alongside Syrian army forces at the frontlines of the attacking forces, others such as Iraqi men and the Fatemiun from Afghanistan are also stationed on the Damascus beltway.
“Syria is very important for Iran. The subject of Syria provided a very grave lesson for the countries of the entire region: if Iran supports a group, it is impossible for it to allow that group to be destroyed or fall. Regional countries have now understood very well that they must not attack Iran’s interests in the region…
Through the few paragraphs above citing senior IRGC commander I sought to highlight the role played by Iran and the Quds Force in Syria.
Recently, I came across a piece saying “a group of Alawite, Lebanese and Syrian Shiites intellectuals and activists have made a public call warning about Iran’s influence in Syria, saying this matter has surpassed military backup and economic support of the Assad regime, reaching the point of making decisions for the Assad regime, changing the social fabric of the population based on religious lines.” These intellectuals have taken a very necessary step to warn about Iran’s meddling in Syria, but I wanted to tell them that Iran was making the decisions for Assad in Syria starting more than 4 years, and unfortunately you are a bit late.
The element behind the rise of ISIS in Syria was a plot carried out by the Quds Force in the face of real opposition forces in Syria. The Quds Force plan was very complex and insidious in a way that on one hand it portrayed this image to the entire world that if Assad is eliminated this country would actually fall into the hands of ISIS and the likes of it. On the other hand, it placed ISIS alongside Assad to confront Syria’s true opposition forces.
The 4-year and counting war in Syria has led to the expansion of two groups against each other. ISIS against Shiite jihadists, and these two assemblies are no different in nature. Both of their ideologies are based on hatred, the spread of terrorism, war, murder and massacres.
The battlefields in Syria for the Quds Force is a training field for terrorist groups, nurtured and raised by the Quds Force from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and … The Quds Force dispatches these individuals for training to Syria, and after taking part in the war defending Bashar Assad and proving their sacrifice for Iran, they are then sent to carry out missions on their own turf.
What is taking place in Iraq these past few years is a mirror of what I described above and the role of Syria and the Quds Force in the Middle East.
The Houthis’ rise to power in Yemen, all carried out under a Quds Force plot, is yet another example of the Syria scenario.
All terrorist attacks in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have been carried out by terrorists trained and briefed by the Quds Force.
If the world powers had blocked Iran’s meddling in the early days of the Syria civil war, and forced Tehran to mind its own business back on its own soil, the road map for the Middle East would be much different and it would have prevented the expansion of ISIS and Shiite militants, and of course saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and …
Currently, there is only one solution left before Middle East states: the alliance of regional countries against Iran’s expansionism.