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The Iranians in Damascus! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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At a time when a Syrian regime source declared that al-Assad’s forces had taken complete control over the capital Damascus, an official in the Iranian embassy in Damascus announced that 48 Iranians had been kidnapped in the city, so what does this mean…the news that al-Assad’s forces control Damascus, and the abduction of Iranians?

The two news items reveal, in all simplicity, a lack of credibility for both the al-Assad and the Iranian regimes. The al-Assad regime is incapable of controlling Damascus, and the Iranians are not being truthful when they say that they do not have a hand in what is happening in Syria. Tehran is openly involved in supporting al-Assad, and no one can believe that the abducted Iranians were visiting what was said to be a Shiite shrine, as the Iranian official announced, at a time when Syria is witnessing armed conflict between the rebels and the regime, especially ongoing armed clashes in Damascus. How could anyone believe that the Iranians would travel at this particular time to visit these shrines? When we take into account the assassination of a security official at the Iranian embassy in Damascus a few days ago, not to mention the arrest of a Lebanese Shiite group in Syria said to be affiliated to Hezbollah, this is not believable at all.

Therefore, the announcement of 48 Iranians being abducted in Damascus at the same time as an al-Assad official declares the regime’s full control over the capital means that the Syrian regime is still hiding the truth. Reality dictates that al-Assad is facing serious difficulties in imposing his control over the capital Damascus, not to mention Aleppo and the rest of the Syrian cities. Hence we can understand the announcement of the upcoming visit of the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday, where it is said he will hold a “crisis meeting”, and without doubt Jalili will discuss his country’s crisis and predicament as the al-Assad regime in Syria teeters on the brink.

Therefore, the implications of these two news items are very important, they tell us al-Assad is unable to impose his control on Damascus, and that Iranian involvement in Syria has become even clearer, no matter how hard the al-Assad regime and the Iranians try to deny it, or attempt to divert attention away by warning the Arabs, and others, of the consequences of intervening in Syria’s affairs.

The facts today tell us that Iran is intervening in Syria’s affairs, and supporting al-Assad’s repression of the unarmed Syrians. The Arabs and the international community are seeking to intervene to save the Syrians from the al-Assad killing machine, which has been relentless ever since the outbreak of the revolution nearly 17 months ago, fuelled by Russian and Iranian weaponry. Meanwhile, Iran’s intervention in Syria has sectarian motives, in order to enable Iran and its agents in the region to continue to export the Khomeini Revolution, and penetrate further in order to expand Iranian influence at the expense of Arab interests. The story in Syria is not the story of a proxy war as alleged by some, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, rather it is a story of people rising up in search of dignity and security, against a criminal regime that will do anything to stay in power, including killing its own people and destroying the country with blatant Iranian support.

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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