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#Iran / #Syria Thread: Key to understanding this topic is to appreciate how perceptions matter just as much reality. Similarly, the political angle of this topic also matters just as much, if not more, than the empirical & Intel-based facts related to this subject matter =>
2-As early as Dec 2016, some of us warned here (see thread below) that @realDonaldTrump Admin was likely to take an anti-Iran tilt & make it a pillar of its regional strategy. The Admin was also expected to be more Pro-Israel than its predecessors. Both turned out to be right =>
3-In order to understand what the U.S. is currently doing in #Syria , one needs to understand what the U.S. couldn't possibly do politically once the mission of ISIS's "annihilation" was complete. So, why didn't @realDonaldTrump do his own "mission accomplished" and leave? =>
4-@realDonaldTrump couldn't leave Syria after the defeat of ISIS because he would have been accused by both #Israel & the Hawks in Washington of handing Syria to Iran & Russia . Surely, something had to be done to avoid this disastrous outcome the expert/hawks/allies warned =>
5-The plan started to take shape by first picking the Kurds #SDF as the partner to defeat ISIS. Once the group was defeated, the US was expected to stay to engage in "stabilization"and "not occupation or nation building" of Syria's North East.
6-Once ISIS was defeated, it was critical to go on a full "Iran-corridors" warning to justify keeping the US troops in Syria. Indeed, from that point on, observers have been bombarded by IRAN-IS-TAKING-OVER-SYRIA-WARNINGS almost on a daily basis
7-We have been told that Iran is building missile factories in Syria. Iran is also establishing an open highway (corridor) from Tehran all the way to Beirut without even a Stop sign on the way. If that was not enough, Iran was also building ports and taking over the Golan area
8-Many Washington-based Think Tanks jumped in with their own facts and figures - Iran had 150,000 different militias and troops in Syria we were told. To date, NOT A SINGLE CREDIBLE OR FACTUAL INTEL has been added to the above Iranian cocktail mix
9-Short Recap: The Syrian leadership was at its lowest point in 2012. Early that year, it reached out to the Opp offering a set of proposals to negotiate a halt to the crisis. Damascus warned that if its offer was not taken, it will have no option but to "call its big allies".
10- When the Opp rebuffed the offer put on the table by Damascus, the Syrian leadership first let Hizbollah in (Qusair battle). When it came to Iran, Assad did not have to twist Tehran's arms to come to his help ==>
11-Just few Jays ago (Feb 11), the Iranian Ambassador in Damascus gave an interview where he reiterated how his country "highly appreciated Syria’s support to Iran in the 1980s stressing that Iran will stand by Syria" till the end. =>
12-Iran therefore wanted to repay Syria for its support in 1980's. But, Iran may indeed have also calculated (as feared by Israel/US/others) that this was a chance for Tehran to spread its wings and expand its influence in Syria & hence the region.
13-For 7 years now, one of the inexplicable misses by many observers & policy makers has been to not take notice of the fact that there is a strong positive correlation between the undermining and weakening of the Syrian State and the growing role of Iran or Russia in the country
14-Another gaping misunderstanding of the Syrian leadership is how seriously it protects its sovereignty and independence in its decision making. So many agreements & deals made between UN/Russians/Iranians have gone nowhere without Damascus's blessing or support
15-Talk that Iran is building ports or military bases near Israel's border totally miss the fact that Damascus is the first party that would resist such steps. Why would Assad give Israel/US a reason to open a new front in this war? That would be highly irrational on his part
16-Rather than an irrational Assad, what you have here is a concerted effort to use "perceptions and politics" at the expense of "empirical intel work" to ascertain the factual nature of Iran's military posture in Syria.
17-Remember that without hyping Iran's role in Syria, there would be no credible justification for the US to stay in Syria after defeat of ISIS. Israel is super risk-averse when it comes to anything to do with Iran. This is why it will plead with @realDonaldTrump to stay in Syria
18-For its part, Washington feels it has a good trade on. With a mere 2500 US Army personnel and having helped the Kurds grab Syria's oil, the U.S feels that it can't be accused of having lost the leverage it needs to be an important arbiter and player in the Syrian conflict
19-Exaggearating Iran's influence & its role in Syria can be viewed as part & parcel of US's Syria policy. For without it, the rationale of this policy would be on a weaker footing. Israel, Washington & Riyadh are likely to use the Iran-is-taking-over-SYRIA for long time to come
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