Expert in Middle East issues, co-author of the book “In the Heart of Hezbollah”, Director of the European Center for Middle East Strategic Studies, Trieste, Italy.
Two years have passed since the Syrian crisis has started, and up to day nobody knows were this will lead to! On the one hand we have the United States and their allies who believe that Assad’s regime will collapse, and from time to time they postpone the date of the Assad defeat. On the other hand, we have the Assad himself supported by the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, that they continue to repeat: there’s no military solution for the Syrian crisis.
Two different versions, one unique question: to whom we must to believe?
We should take into consideration many aspects of the Middle East geopolitical situation if we would really want to believe one of the two parties in conflict. And the first question we should answer is: why Syria?
In what they called “the Arab Spring” we have never seen many countries, fight together by putting pulling together heavy resources in order to change a regime! Except in Libya, were there was a military intervention to defeat Ghaddafy regime! But Libya is much more different than Syria; it’s important yes as a country but not as essential as Syria for Russia, Iran and others.
Syria has never signed any agreement with Israel, because Syrian pretends the restitution of Golan Heights before any peace agreement, Syria is therefore the only Arab country who support clearly all the resistance movement in the area and host the heads of Palestinian resistance movements on its ground, Syria also provides weapons to the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah. Syria has also an extraordinary army with more than 320,000 professional soldiers, all well trained and equipped. After the disintegration of the Iraqi army, the Syrian army became the only real challenge for Israel! Syria has a strategic alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran and has granted a permanent naval base to the Russian army – the only Russian base in the Middle East. That’s why winning the war in Syria for the United States and their allies means the followings:
- – Impose their condition to solve the Israeli – Arabs conflict; in other words, deny forever the rights of the Palestinian refugee to return to their lands and propose Jordan and Egypt as the alternative lands.
- Isolate Iran and force it to accept the condition of the west countries regarding its nuclear program.
- Cut the chances of Hezbollah, to have military equipment in the event of a war against Israel, and put the party in the strategically perilous position where he will be surrounded on the south by Israel, with Syria on the North while the Sunni extremists of Jabhat Al-Nusra will constitute another head of the enemy war triangle from inside Lebanon.
- Contain the Russian ambitions to assert its growing role as a decisive player on the chessboard of world politics.
- Have control of energy resources in order to force China to adapt to the interests of the West; and forget forever its dream to become the first economic power in the world.
That is why Syria is so important for each of the parties in conflict. Winning the war in Syria means to manage the Middle East for the next 20 years. This also means having a very significant advantage in the imminent battle to control Asia.
Russia, Iran and Hezbollah will never permit that Syria fall in enemy hands, and the leader of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was very clear recently when he said “Syria has very real friends, and they will use every effort to avoid that enemies reach their goals”. Many analysts admit the very important role of Hezbollah to balance the power in Syria; at the same time they don’t deny the professionalism and quality of the Syrian Army fighter. But the kind of ongoing conflict, where there are very experienced fighters, such as the Chechens and the Afghans, encourage the involvement of Hezbollah fighters to assist the Syrian army to win the war. In fact, the militants in Syria fear the direct involvement of Hezbollah, because they know well the long experience the party has gained over the last few years fighting the Israeli army.
And knowing that when Hezbollah will decide to put all its powers in Syria, Assad regime will survive and probably win the war, the militants accuse Hezbollah of fighting to defend the Alawite regime. These charges against Hezbollah have one specific objective: to put it in a position whereby it will have to face the anger of the Sunni Muslims, because they know that Hezbollah will do everything to prevent a Sunni – Shia conflict! By so doing, they plot to force Hezbollah to change its pro-Assad policy and let Assad face alone his fate. But they are wrong, because Hezbollah has declared: Syria will never fall and we will fight in this direction. Why this decision?
Syria is considered by the leaders of the party as the strategic area of resistance against Israel. Lebanon has two border lines, one with Israel and one with Syria, so to receive army support and logistic assistance, Syria is essential l! In addition, thousands of its fighters are prepared on Syrian soil, and maybe a few people know that since the 1990sHezbollah has built military bases and administrative offices in Syria. Nasrallah himself once said; “Hezbollah missiles are manufactured in Syria”. This confirms that the alliance between Hezbollah and the Syrian army is strategic and vital for both. So Hezbollah is fighting against those who want to transform Syria from a very important allied country to enemy an country. Hezbollah also, has no doubt that the day after the fall of Assad’s regime, the militants will attack its bases and fighters in Lebanon. In effects, the leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” have declared many time their intention to attack Hezbollah once Assad regime is defeated.
The decision taken by Hezbollah to enter the war on the side of Syria has the followings objectives:
- Fight the war in Syria means not to allow the militants to organize themselves to move into Lebanon.
- Protect the holy places of the Shiites in order to avoid the increase in tensions between the Sunni and the Shia; tensions that will probably lead to a direct conflict in the case where the jihadists of al-Qaeda destroy the mausoleum of “Zainab” in Damascus.
- Prevent Syria from falling into enemy hands.
The United States, Israel and their allies on the one hand; Russia, Iran and Hezbollah on the other hand are all each party involved in the conflict in Syria. Each of them fight for very important reasons and will save no efforts to reach their goals or to improve their comparative strategically assets, before the Putin – Obama meeting in June. So, in the comings weeks, we will probably experience the fiercest fighting and attacks in Syria and neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. It’s too crystal clear for one not to see that the ongoing war in Syria will change the face of our world.