Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist, explains in an op-ed for Arab News that the survival of the Assad dictatorship is not due to pure luck on Assad’s part or supreme Syrian military power. Instead, it was due to the lack of firm policy by nations who supported the Syrian people and the Iranian Regime’s support of the Syrian dictatorship.
When the Syrian civil war began, Iran was only providing advisory assistance and moral support to the dictator’s forces, but following a series of defeats by Assad’s forces, the Iranian Regime increased its involvement. At some point in 2013, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei instructed the Iranian Regime to provide military, intelligence and economic assistance to Assad in order to defend their ally.
Soon after, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Quds Force, which conducts military and ideological operations outside of Iran, began dispatching low-level soldiers and senior military generals to Syria. They also brought in fighters from their many militia groups across the Middle East, as well as recruiting ordinary people from Afghanistan and other countries to defend Assad.
The Iranian Regime didn’t even hesitate when strict US sanctions were imposed on it in 2013, spending roughly $16 billion a year to support Assad and opening a credit line, which now totals $3 billion. This is in addition to their other malign activities in the Middle East.
Now, the Iranian Regime is celebrating their likely victory in Syria, where half a million people have died in the brutal seven-year-long conflict. The Iranian people, on the other hand, are protesting the waste of $100 billion of their money to keep Assad in power and murder the Syrian people.
Iran is now in the worst economic crisis in living memory, with skyrocketing unemployment, a plummeting rial, and rising inflation, and millions are suffering because of it. The Regime used the money to support terrorism, war, and dictatorships, so the Iranian people took to the streets in protest as this is the only way to ensure that their voices are heard.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh wrote: “The irony is that Assad may have won the civil war with the assistance of Iran, but now Tehran is in deep turmoil. But the difference is that Assad is not in a position to reciprocate Tehran’s favour and come to its aid, since he is presiding over a battered and war-torn country.”