By Pooya Stone
On Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again went to Syria. In a situation where the entire country is involved with the coronavirus and other countries’ foreign ministers travel around the world to find any support for their country, Zarif flew to that country to ensure the support of the regime for Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
The state-run news agency ISNA quoting Syria’s Al-Watan daily wrote: “The focus of Zarif’s talks with Syrian officials is on the forthcoming meeting of foreign ministers of the guarantor countries of the Astana (Nur-Sultan/Kazakhstan) process.”
“A source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry also stressed that Zarif was on his way to Damascus for talks and consultations with Syrian officials on the upcoming Astana summit, which is scheduled for next Wednesday.
“The source also added that the next meeting of the Foreign Ministry of the countries guaranteeing the Astana process is scheduled to be held on Wednesday via video conference. (ISNA, 20 April)
Iran’s regime and its frustration about the Arab countries’ media
The Arabic countries’ news has shown another perspective about this travel, and that angered the regime because it is very clear the regime’s travel to Syria is not to fight against the coronavirus pandemic as it claimed.
The Amadkhabar website wrote: “Of course, the biased analysis of some Arab media outlets regarding Zarif’s visit to Syria is also significant in the current context, which we will discuss below. Some of these analyzes are biased and aimed at tarnishing the image of Iran’s foreign policy by some Arab media outlets, most of which are backed by Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. These media outlets are trying to suggest that Iran opposes the ceasefire in Idlib province and the agreements between Russia and Turkey and seeks to increase military operations in the region.
“Some analysts have also claimed that Zarif’s visit to Syria comes after Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s recent contact with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and bin Zayed’s desire to strengthen ties with Damascus.
The Iranian regime’s only contributions to #Syria have been violence and instability. If the regime were truly concerned about the health and safety of the Syrian people, it would withdraw IRGC, Hizballah, and other Iranian-backed terrorist forces under its command from Syria.
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 20, 2020
Since 2012, the Iranian regime has provided more than $10 billion of the Iranian people’s money to Assad. Wonder how much plundered cash the regime’s chief apologist is delivering to Damascus today? pic.twitter.com/jpN93PeKxA
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) April 20, 2020
“The next point is that the affiliated media are trying to insinuate that Iran is seeking to strengthen its influence in Syria through the visit of our Foreign Minister to Damascus and that it sees its interests in Syria in jeopardy… (Amadkhabar, 20 April)
The regime’s malign activities in Syria after more than nine years of war is not a secret, but the regime is constantly trying to hide or minimize them because the human-rights situation thanks to them is indescribable.
Referring to this subject Amir Poordastan, the Head of Iran’s Center for Strategic Studies of the Army, said:
“Iran’s adviser in Syria has been at Syria’s official request”
“The presence of the advisor of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Syria was at the official request of the Syrian government. With the cooperation of us and the Syrian army and people’s forces, the Takfiris did not achieve their goals and failed, and we will be there as long as Syria needs our presence.” (Asr Iran, 19 April)
The real situation of the regime in Syria
Hussein Malaik, Iran’s former ambassador to China, reported in an article in the state-run Arman newspaper on 20 April, about the attacks on the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Syria and the regime’s proxy forces.
The former ambassador to China wrote. “Turkey’s entry into the conflict in northern Syria has put pressure on Iranian-linked forces. The actions of the American forces in the east and the Israeli operations in the south of Syria against these forces will not create the field of any continuous conditions. The problem of dealing with the coronavirus in a ground military operation will narrow the field for Iranian forces.
“It should be noted that the axis of resistance and what is considered as the pillar of Iran’s foreign policy has been completely engulfed by the Turkish army and pro-Turkish groups on the ground in northern Syria and in the south by Israel. Turkey and Israel, in unintended cooperation, have created such a crisis for Iran.” (Arman, 20 April)
Hussein Malaik, referring to last Thursday’s attack on a jeep carrying four Hezbollah-linked militias on the Syrian-Lebanese border, said: “This is the second such attack and the third attack on a car carrying these militias in the Quneitra region in the past year.
So far, there have been two attacks on the outskirts of Damascus and on Al-Shairat Airport around Homs and around Latakia. Also, one of the Hezbollah’s regional commanders, Emad al-Tawil, was targeted by a drone in Quneitra.” (Arman, 20 April)
Regarding the situation of the Revolutionary Guards and the regime’s mercenaries in Syria, he said: “In principle, there must be a clear definition of support, deterrence, and victory for the forces involved in the strategy. After the success of the war with the Syrian opposition, Iranian-linked forces in Syria now lack a clear definition of adequate defense or deterrence, and Russia cannot be relied upon to support them.” (Arman, 20 April)