Iran recently congratulated themselves of the defeat of the democratic Syrian resistance forces in Aleppo.
Yahya Safavi, the top foreign policy adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “The liberation of Aleppo… reinforces the political strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The new American president must accept the reality that Iran is the leading power in the region.”
The mullahs even continue to spread the myth that they are defeating ISIS through their military and financial support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Foad Izadi, a conservative-leaning professor of world politics at Tehran University, said support for the Syrian dictator and his violent war against his own people was a necessary evil.
He said: “If Syria falls, you’ll either get a pro-Israeli government there, or you get the Islamic State, or you get Libya. Those are not good options for us.”
However, the Iranian Regime fails to note that its real fear is not ISIS but the Iranian people. If the Syrians are allowed to rise up against a tyrant, why shouldn’t their Iranian brethren?
Adnan Tabatabai, Iran analyst and CEO of Germany-based think tank CARPO, said: “Syria is important as a way of maintaining its access to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which acts as a defence force for Iran against Israeli influence in the region, but Iran’s main priority is simply to secure its borders with Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of its territorial integrity.”
The Iranian mullahs are also supporting the terrorist group, Hezbollah, in Lebanon and recently managed to input ex-general, Michel Aoun, as president.
But where are they getting the money to support all this military action? From the 2015 nuclear deal, of course.
This may change under Donald Trump, who famously called the agreement a “bad deal”, and has since lined his cabinet with Iranian sceptics. However, Trump has also criticised US ally Saudi Arabia for its reliance on the US and spreading fundamentalist Islam.
Tabatabai said: “For Iran, it’s much easier not to rely on the US because they haven’t been doing that for the past three decades, whereas it’s a major change for Saudi Arabia and other regional rivals of Iran to stop counting on the US.”
Saudi Arabia has suffered setbacks even before Trump takes office with low oil prices, the defeat of the Syrian Resistance forces in Aleppo and their bombing campaign against Hezbollah in Yemen.
However, Iran may not be in such a good position.
Aram Nerguizian, a Middle East analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: “For all the talk of Iran being in a much better position… it doesn’t change the fact that Iran is a Shiite power in a Sunni-majority region.”
He said: “Neither side wants an all-out war. At some point, they have to accept some degree of influence for the other side. The alternative is an indefinite ideological war between Sunnis and Shiites, and that’s just not sustainable.”
Nerguizian notes that the Saudis still have major advantages- including the billions of dollars in arms that they purchased from Western allies.
He said: “Folks have been projecting the collapse of the House of Saud for 60 years and it hasn’t happened. For all their instability, the Gulf countries are far more integrated into the global economy than Iran and still have the support of key Western allies.”
Even supposedly close relationships are fraught.
Nerguizian said: “Iran’s relationships with big powers like Russia and China are very fickle. Those countries have their own priorities. Syria is just one small part of the region. When it comes to things like energy, Russia is more than happy to partner with other countries in the Gulf.”