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It is a significantly ironic observation, with many implications, when we find that most Free Syrian Army statements are now being issued from inside Syrian territory, and especially from Aleppo, steadfast in resisting the tyrant al-Assad’s forces, while we find the al-Assad regime’s Minister of Foreign Affairs speaking from the Iranian capital Tehran!

The Free Syrian Army has begun issuing its statements from inside Syria, vowing to continue the revolution, and liberate occupied Syrian territories from the clutches of the al-Assad regime. Meanwhile we find Walid Moallem threatening the Syrians from Iran, pledging to crush them, and standing next to the Iranian Foreign Minister! It is strange that the al-Assad regime – through its external attempts – has tried to portray the Syrian revolutionaries as a group of “Arab armed gangs”. Likewise, the al-Assad regime has tried to tell the West, and some Syrian segments, that the revolution against it is nothing but a sectarian movement. Meanwhile we find Moallem himself threatening the Syrians – from Iran – and yet no one mentions the abhorrent sectarian nature of the al-Assad regime! Walid Moallem, speaking from Iran, did not announce practical solutions to the crisis; he did not offer anything useful, only threats and intimidation. Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister said that the formation of a transitional government in Syria was an “illusion”, instead of demanding that the al-Assad regime stop using its criminal killing machine against the Syrians, which shows Iran’s hypocrisy in our region!

Of course, the implications of this, i.e. Moallem speaking from Iran and the Free Syrian Army issuing statements from Syria, means that events on the ground are moving rapidly against the wishes of the al-Assad regime, which has begun to face genuine difficulties on the ground, especially the steadfastness of Aleppo and the Free Syrian Army, which are compounding the erosion of al-Assad’s forces and weakening their control. If there was genuine international action, or at least from the countries willing, to impose safe areas on the Syrian border, this would dismantle the al-Assad regime, particularly its security divisions, in a manner faster than imagined, especially with the increasing pace of military defections, and likewise the diplomatic splits. We have even seen defections among Syrian members of parliament and police leaders in large Syrian cities, most recently the deputy police director in Latakia.

Therefore, Moallem speaking from Tehran shows that the al-Assad regime now believes Iran is all that remains. In spite of all the Russian positions defending al-Assad, the difference between Iran and Russia is that Moscow is now talking about al-Assad using a form of language that does not convey respect, especially when the Russian Foreign Minister spoke recently joking about the idea of granting political asylum to al-Assad in Moscow, where Lavrov said that his country could note even think about that, and that it was up to other countries to take him in. This language is not being spoken in Tehran, and indeed Iran is still defending al-Assad, and threatening those who support his departure from power in our region!

In summary, Moallem’s comments from Iran and the Free Syrian Army’s statements from Syria reflect the reality on the ground, and show that al-Assad no longer cares about the opinion of those in Damascus or Aleppo; rather he wants to make sure that Tehran stands by him in his battle with the Syrians. These are indicators not only of al-Assad’s weakness, but of his imminent end, just as the whole scenario is evidence of Iranian sectarianism in our region.

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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