Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are Iran And Turkey Squaring Off Against Each Other On Syria?

An article on Fox News reports that Iran Warns Turkey to Butt Out of Syria.

That in itself is no big surprise. After all, Turkey has been warning Syria that it was going to have to respond to the protesters' demands for peace and democracy.

Nor is it any surprise that Iran would come out in defense of Syria--the country that helps Iran provide weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Besides, how many friends does Persian Iran have in the Arab world?

Still, take a look at a recently published article in the weekly magazine Sobh’eh Sadegh--controlled the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The article, “Iran’s Serious Stance in the Face of Syrian Events" warns Turkey against the stance it is taking against Syria, at a time that Iran stands behind the Assad regime.

Iran's warning to Turkey is clear:

Should Turkish officials insist on their contradictory behavior and if they continue on their present path, serious issues are sure to follow. We will be put in the position of having to choose between Turkey and Syria. Syria’s justification in defending herself along with mirroring ideological perceptions would sway Iran toward choosing Syria.
According to Fox News, the article makes 3 points:
  • Turkey is gravely mistaken if it believes Syria is on a “one-way path to destruction” and that any dreams it may have to take advantage of the fall of Assad will not happen. “From Iran’s standpoint, the Syrian leadership is in the midst of resolving its problems, and as soon as foreign meddling stops, the Syrians will be able to revert back to ‘normal.’”

  • Turkey can only realize its “ambitions” through an “alliance (with Syria and Iran that) can take over a more extensive part of the region.”

  • The “rabble rousers” participating in the Syrian protests are “puppets of Zionists and the United States.” The “proof of their alliance with the enemies of Islam” can be seen in their denunciation of Hezbollah, the “resistance front.” “The Syrian dissenters are working directly for the Zionists and are against the resistance front. None of this is coincidental. There are clear signs of direct connections. The Zionists still occupy and control parts of Syria (the Golan Heights).” Chanting slogans against Iran and Hezbollah by the “radicals in Syria will be their last stand.”
First of all, there is something awfully empty about your rhetoric if  you can describe reverting back to "normal" as something desirable in Syria. Some analysts are already saying that at this point it is wishful thinking to thing that the Assad regime will be able to put the genie back into the bottle.

Secondly, assuming the translation of is accurate, talking about an alliance of Syria and Iran to "take over a more extensive part of the region" is not going to allay the fears of the rest of the Arab world which already sees Iran as a threat to the region and as perhaps the biggest threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.

Lastly, just how far can you go, blaming Syria's protests on Zionists and the US? Considering the recent indictment of Hezbollah for its involvement in the assassination of Rafik Hariri--and the lack of protests by the rest of the Arab world, bringing up the chants against Hezbollah may not exactly make their case.

One would think that Iran and Turkey would be on opposing sides in any case.
After all, Iran sees itself as the future power in the Middle East, while Turkey--with its return to more Islamic leanings--is looking to restore its former Islamic glory.

The Middle East is never a boring place.
If the tension between Iran and Turkey continues, this will be even more true.

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