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Al-Assad under Iranian guardianship - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The photograph published by the al-Assad regime’s official news agency “SANA”, depicting the meeting between Bashar al-Assad and the Supreme Leader of Iran’s envoy, Saeed Jalili, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, sums up the political situation in Syria today. It confirms that the tyrant of Damascus is now fully under the guardianship of Iran, specifically within the cloak of the Supreme Leader!

The photograph in question, printed on the front page of Asharq al-Awsat yesterday, shows Bashar al-Assad sitting in a chair with Jalili to his right, whilst all other attendees in the meeting are from the Iranian side. The photograph does not show Walid Moallem, Bouthaina Shaaban, not even Faisal Mekdad or Jihad al-Maqdisi. According to the photograph, to al-Assad’s right and to his left, everyone in attendance is Iranian. Meanwhile, on the same day, SANA published another photograph of a separate meeting Jalili held with Walid Moallem and a team from al-Assad’s foreign ministry. This in itself is an indication that al-Assad is now fully under Iranian guardianship, and this was confirmed by Tehran through Jalili’s statements announcing that Iran stands by al-Assad, and Tehran will not accept the breakup of the so-called axis of resistance. The custom in all al-Assad’s meetings, and particularly since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution, is for the guest visitor to sit on the Syrian President’s right, with his accompanying delegation alongside him, while members of the Syrian government sit on the left of al-Assad, but this was not the case in the meeting between al-Assad and Khamenei’s envoy Jalili. Hence the Syrians today are not only fighting the tyrant of Damascus, they are also fighting Iran, which wants to impose al-Assad upon them by the force of arms!

The photograph of the al-Assad-Jalili meeting also indicates that Iran – more than ever – has become convinced that al-Assad’s days are numbered, something that was confirmed by the defection of Prime Minister Riyad Hijab. Therefore, Tehran now intends to protect al-Assad, who has become a personal cause in the hands of the Supreme Leader. This means that al-Assad is like Nuri al-Maliki and Hassan Nasrallah, but will this ensure the survival of the Syrian President? Of course not. Iran’s public defense of al-Assad, in the manner that can be seen from Jalili’s meeting with the Syrian President, confirms that the Syrians today are facing a sectarian battle being fought against them by Tehran. This will only reveal the hypocrisy and sectarian nature of the al-Assad and Iranian regimes alike, just like it will also remove the last fig leaf from Iran’s duplicity in our region.

Hence the photograph of the meeting between al-Assad and Jalili is one of the most prominent images that will remain in the mind of the Syrian rebels, the Arab region, and the international community. The picture has become clear now in Syria, where Iran is intervening – at the level of its Supreme Leader – to help the collapsing regime, and provide it with all the assistance it needs to kill unarmed civilians, amid international reluctance to arm the Syrian rebels.

The blatant Iranian interference in Syria shows that what is happening there is a purely Syrian revolution, carried out by the people of the country themselves, and not with external support as alleged by the al-Assad regime and Tehran. Iran sent Jalili to meet with the Syrian President in what may be a farewell kiss, and we will find out if this is the case very soon, for every day is full of surprises.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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