Leaks out of Iran are placing added meaning to the possibility for Assad to be removed from power in Syria, namely who will control Lebanon. Currently, Lebanon is ruled by Iran through their proxy, Hezballah. Hezballah took control over Lebanon a couple of years ago by forcing a new coalition by threat, force and strong persuasion. They forced out the Saad Hariri coalition by leveraging control in order to avoid prosecutions against Hezballah members and rulers in the assassination bombing of Rafic Hariri, the father of then ruling Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hezballah implemented a combination of threat, political pressure and blaming Israel while claiming that the Zionists had influenced the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon into prosecuting Hezballah leadership in order to threaten Islamic interests in Lebanon and threaten Nasrallah. Hezballah was supplied by Iran through Syria which is why should Assad fall Iran will face difficulties as their supply route to Lebanon and thus Hezballah will be broken.
With the possibility of Assad losing his control in Syria, Iran faced a choice between two options; either supplying Hezballah with state-of-the-art heavy weapons and enlarging the number of Iranian soldiers in Lebanon or evacuate all Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers from southern Lebanon and Beirut, and to relocate Nasrallah and other senior commanders from Beirut to Tehran. This choice was viewed as necessary due to Iranian supply routes being cut by the potential loss of Syria as a staging area; the anti-Syria forces in Lebanon would threaten Nasrallah and Hezballah as well as any Iranian forces aiding them. This would allow Lebanon to reestablishing their independence which they had won with great difficulty when they pushed Syrian forces from within their borders in 2005. It was this short lived independence from Syrian, and thus Iranian influence that had necessitated the Hezballah takeover. It was reported in Iran that they had chosen to cut their losses and pull their forces back home and have initiated the move by pulling all Iranian military barracks in Syria and moving them to Lebanon’s Bak’a Valley, a Hezballah stronghold. The area is held by a strong Hezballah presence of well-equipped forces where the Lebanese military is loath to enter without first gaining permission.
Meanwhile, possibly as a possible diversionary tactic, or simply needing to blow off some steam, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched into a barrage against Israel issuing a statement to the press. He was quoted as claiming, “It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political, media, monetary and banking organizations in the world, they have been the decision makers… The Zionist regime is both the symbol of the hegemony of the Zionism over the world and the means in the hand of the oppressor powers for expansion of their hegemony in the region and in the world. The Quds Day is not merely a strategic solution for the Palestinian problem, as it is to be viewed as a key for solving the world problems; any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world. Zionism is the modern times plight of the human society and when we meet the European politicians they say speak transparently about everything, but they refrain from talking about the Zionist regime, which proves that Israel is the axis of unity of the world hegemonic powers.”
So, apparently the Iranians, who should have an inside track to the reality in Syria, believe that President Assad is counting down to the inevitable collapse of his rule. That still leaves in question how many more Syrians will pay the ultimate price adding to the horrendous numbers of dead and injured in addition to the ruination of the Syrian infrastructure and economy. Refugees continue to flow over the borders into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Finally, it was reported yesterday that Turkey initiated highly visible military maneuvers across from the Syrian Kurdish controlled areas. This raises the question of whether Turkey might use the violence and turmoil in Syria as an excuse to strike the Kurdish areas across the border where it has been reported many Kurdish separatists have gathered. That is all that is needed in the Middle East, an expanding area of more violence.
Beyond the Cusp