We must take a close look at the relationship between the Iraqi regime and that of Bashar al-Assad. This is something that has become essential, whether we are talking about the survival or disappearance of this despotic regime in Syria.
This is because Iraqi airspace, as well as border routes between Iraq and Syria, have become essential for the transport of weapons and ammunition to Syria. The al-Assad regime then utilizes this cargo to kill and intimidate its opponents.
These routes have become essential for the al-Assad regime, and have become increasingly important after Turkey introduced a set of measures to inspect any passenger jet that passes through Turkish airspace en route to Syria. In addition to this, Ankara has firmly closed all border crossings between the two countries.
In this case, how else can weapons and ammunition be transported to Syria?
As for Russian arms, the only means of transporting this is by sea, via the Mediterranean ports of Tartus and Baniyas. Regarding Iranian arms, these are subject to search and destroy operations at sea.
Therefore Iraq – by land or sea – remains the only way for Iranian arms to reach the Syrian regime. Here we see the regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki playing a game that has now been exposed, claiming that it lacks the mechanisms or the tools to prevent the transport and leak of Iranian arms into Syria, as if Iraq today is not an Iranian protectorate and Nouri al-Maliki not an ally of Tehran! This as if the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp [IRGC], with all its security and intelligence apparatus, has not been doing everything in its power over the past few years to control the domestic situation in Iraq.
The al-Maliki regime, which claims to be on good relations with Washington, has prioritized its relations with Tehran, and is unable – even if it wanted to – to act against Iran’s will in terms of backing its Syrian ally.
It would not be in the al-Maliki regime’s interest for a reformative Islamic Sunni or revolutionary regime to emerge in Syria, particularly as al-Maliki is an ideological, sectarian and political ally of Iran. This is the crux of the matter, and so here we see a regime that is ruled by a sectarian minority aiding a minority regime taking a huge gamble over the present and future in a battle for life and death.
The al-Maliki regime can by no means countenance a victory for the Syrian revolution, for it is well aware that following this the Syrian Spring will gradually move into Iraq, which has not witnessed any reform or natural changes. Indeed, what Iraq experienced was US occupation which ousted Saddam Hussein’s tyranny only to replace this with sectarian tyranny.