For years now, Iran
has been supporting the Syrian Baath regime — the ideological cousin of the Iraqi Baath regime against whom Iran
carried out the longest war of the century. Syria has become one of the few friends Iran
has left, after it was blatantly sanctioned by the West, the U.S and other states in the region after the Islamic revolution. In fact, Iran
often preferred to promote this relationship as having exaggeratedly more geopolitical value than it really had. Not unlike the existence of a resistance movement in the very unique political, social and geopolitical structure of Lebanon. In other words, the political thread of Iran-Syria-Lebanon is based on as many exaggerations and speculations as the “Iranian Threat” that is inflated by the West, the U.S and Israel.
Let’s leave aside the above mentioned clichés for a moment — because these approaches truly have been turned into clichés. Moving beyond these readings, which have become impossible to verify or falsify, will clear the path for different perspectives. Let our question be this: What kind of political picture would emerge had Iran
not provided support to the Syrian Baath regime?
1. First of all, the geopolitical platitudes mentioned above would have been dismantled.
2. We would have seen evidence of the existence of the front dubbed the “resistance front” by Iran.
3. It would have become apparent once again that Syria, from which Hamas was forced to withdraw, was not actually a genuine supporter of the Palestinian cause.
4. The claim that Iran’s reaction to the Homs Massacres in 1980s was not a political preference but a necessity would have been confirmed after twenty years.
5. Iran’s apparent support for the overthrowing of the Baath regime would irritate Israel
and the United States, which Iran
has long categorized as enemies. The reflection of this irritation to the region would have been felt by all anti-democratic administrations in close relationship with the U.S.
6. Withdrawal of Iran’s support from the al-Assad rule would have seriously contributed to the normalization in Iraq. It would have created important opportunities toward the reconciliation of ethnic and sectarian factions.
7. Adherence to a foreign policy that did not stand in front of the change in Syria would have turned Iran
into an important contributor of change in the region. An Iran
that defended change in the region would have help actualize democratization in the region - more importantly within its own territory - without having given losses to conspiracies and external scare tactics.
8. The absence of support from Iran
to a sectarian family-gang administration would have softened the sectarian tensions antagonizing our region. The path would have been cleared for an entirely different discourse on the Middle East. Most Western geopolitical readings and calculations would have been rendered meaningless.
9. Had Iran
been able to stand against the massacres committed by the Syrian Baath regime, its Islamic revolution and its struggle against the Iranian Shah (and the order represented by the Shah), would have become important historical events that are mirrored by the Arab uprisings today.
10. Had Iran
been able to distance itself from the al-Assad regime, it would have paved the way for reevaluating not only the (collapse of the) Camp David Order, but also of the post World War I order.