05232019Thu

Iran must leave Syria

Iran Focus

London, 29 August - There is much talk about removing Iran from Syria and, in recent months, many actors in the Syrian civil war have done their best to force Iran to leave.

Israel has repeatedly shelled Iran-backed forces that are too close to its border, while Russia has called on Iranian forces to move from that border and stated that it doesn’t support Iran’s presence in Syria, despite the fact that they are both fighting to keep the Bashar Assad in power. Meanwhile, the US and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly tried to tempt Assad to kick Iran out.

Iran-Israel-Syria-border

Iran Focus

London, 27 August - At the beginning of the month, Russia announced that it had convinced Iranian forces, including Hezbollah, in Syria to move back from the Israeli border and keep a distance of about 85 kilometres (53 miles), after an escalation of Israeli military strikes against the Iranian-led forces.

However, some are speculating that this retreat by the Iranians will be short-lived. They argue that this retreat is nothing more than a tactical manoeuvre by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in order to reduce tensions for a short period before it returns to the border, citing Iran’s previous consolidation in Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Hezbollah has control.

Trump and Putin

Iran Focus

London, 17 August - Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are reported to have “agreed in principle” that Iranian forces should leave Syria, during their meeting in Helsinki last month.

A US official in the Trump administration spoke to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity about the closed-door meeting in July and explained that both parties agreed about the need for forces from the Iranian military and militias back by Iran to leave the war-torn nation.

US-Putin

Iran Focus

London, 25 August - Iranian interests in Syria are systematically being abandoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

John Bolton’s meeting with Israeli officials on Wednesday gives evidence to this. The US National Security Adviser claimed that Putin had told Trump “that he would be content to see Iranian forces all sent back to Iran.” Bolton added that Putin had offered the caveat, “I can’t do it myself.”

It seems that Putin’s interests in Syria are now increasingly divergent from those of Iran.

The US’s military base near to southern Syria’s al-Tanf border crossing

Iran Focus

London, 27 July - The US’s military base near to southern Syria’s al-Tanf border crossing may have been set up to train local Syrians to fight ISIS militants, but it also provides an effective counterweight to Iran’s malign activities in the region.

Army Major Josh Jacques, a spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), said: “Our mere presence there accomplishes that, whether it’s a goal or not.”

Even though the US military is primarily focused on training a Syrian group called Maghawir al-Thawra (MaT) to defeat ISIS, CENTCOM commander US Army General Joseph Votel reports that the American presence indirectly impedes Iran’s “destabilizing acts” in the nation.

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