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Washington: Assad Is an Inevitable Political Reality - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently dropped a bombshell when he said that Assad is a political reality that should be accepted.

The reason? Spicer officially said that: “the United States has profound priorities in Syria and Iraq and we’ve made it clear that counterterrorism, particularly the defeat of ISIS, is foremost among those priorities.”

In fact, by stating this dangerous announcement, US President Donald Trump isn’t far from the pledges he made during his presidential campaign. Back then, Trump criticized the policy of former president Barack Obama for allowing Iran to take over Iraq and Syria. He said that once he becomes president he will focus on fighting terrorist organizations in collaboration with the Russians. So practically, he is doing what he literally said before.

The difficult question here is how can Trump fight Iran’s influence and ISIS, and at the same time collaborate with the regime in Damascus?

Prior to the civil war in Syria, Damascus had a strategic relation with Iran which caused the deterioration of Assad’s regime relations with countries of the moderation camp, such as Gulf countries and Egypt.

USA was swamped in its crisis in Iraq after the occupation, and it downed on it that Iran used Syria as a host center of terrorists from all over the world. The terrorists were then prepared to fight in Iraq under al-Qaeda, for six bloody years.

Since the beginning of the revolution in Syria, most Gulf countries wanted to avoid it, hadn’t it been for Damascus which preferred taking the tough way out, which included cooperation with Iran to confront the defections and fight the armed opposition.

The truth is that Iran’s military support failed to save the Syrian regime which wouldn’t have survived to this day, or what Spicer dubbed “new political reality”, hadn’t it been for the massive military Russian intervention.

If we are willing to accept this truth, then the Syrian regime must accept it too. Iran was the problem yesterday and it will be the problem tomorrow.

Iran is the reason behind Damascus’ disputes with Arab countries in the region, which are defending themselves against the ongoing Iranian aggressive and destructive expansion.

This Arab struggle with Ayatollah’s regime has nothing to do with the Arab disputes with the Assad regime of Bashar al-Assad who couldn’t properly manage his relations with Arab states, unlike his late father Hafez al-Assad.

Hafez al-Assad maintained relations between Arab countries as well as Iran and was a positive mediator in the Iran-Gulf disputes.

It is possible for the Gulf States to deal positively with the “new political reality”, something that Turkey had already accepted since Ahmet Davutoglu resigned and Binali Yildirim was assigned as prime minister instead.

The first question is: whether the regime in Damascus wants to end the Iranian military presence on its territories or not? This question is followed by another whether it can actually rid itself of the Iranian Quds Forces and its Lebanese, Iraqi, Pakistani, and Afghani militias, estimated to be 50,000 in number.

The will to find a political solution for the Syrian crisis has been the Syrian opposition’s project for over three years, ever since it was clear that neither party can win the war through the power of weapon.

The disagreement is, and has been, on the solution formula and we can safely say that it failed, and Assad no has exclusive control of everything, or so he thinks.

The truth is that Syria has become a broken vase and we should wait and see how it can be fixed on the levels of politics, administration and security without the support of moderate Arab states.

The next tough formula, given there is an agreement to keep Assad’s regime, remains in taking Iran out of the presidential palace in Damascus. With Ayatollah regime in control of most important pillars of the Syrian state, the country will not have any stability no matter how much world powers agree.

I am not saying this out of moral denial to what’s happening but the Syrian reality itself is greater than Iran, Russia, and the Damascus regime. Reality demands understanding the fact that the presence of Iran and its militias on Syrian soil will ruin any agreement signed by any party.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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