Islamic republic’s friends and allies in the region
SYRIA – With Hillary Clinton’s overtures towards Syria to woo Damascus away from its support of Iran (and Hizbullah), we see a scramble by Ahmadinejad to ensure Syria’s backing in their radical views on the region by travelling to Syria, his fifth trip to Damascus in a year. But can Syria be trusted by either party?
Syria, when it comes to Iran, has been playing a double game for many years. On the one hand they enjoy massive oil imports from Iran at dirt cheap prices, have seen Iran build oil refineries in the Syrian soil (something that Iran has been unable or unwilling to do within its own borders!), enjoy great revenues in tourism from Iran by lifting the need for entry visa for all Iranians, receipt of arms and weaponry (a large segment of which is in turn, transferred to the terrorist group, Hizbullah, in Lebanon), and finally has ensured Iran’s backing in international forums when under pressure for its involvement in terrorism or human rights abuses or … etc.
On the other hand, Syria, among its Arab brethren, clearly supports their claim over the three Iranian islands in Persian Gulf and whenever it came to any stand-off between an Arab state and Iran, Syria has been staunchly behind the Arab nation! I suspect once the right price is offered by the US government, Syria’s loyalty will be for sale and Iran will find yet another ally lost. However, in the meantime, Damascus will continue to court and entertain all sorts of bribes from all parties.
RUSSIA – After the compromise over the Missile Defense Shield proposed program by the US in Eastern Europe, we saw a gradual departure of Moscow’s unconditional support for the Islamic regime. Inspite of Iran surrendering various sovereignty rights in the Caspian Sea region and its removal from the Euro-Gas deal (that now, makes Russia as the main supplier of natural gas to Europe). However, becoming the target of ire and anger of the people of Iran in their anti-government protests, for Moscow’s alleged involvement after the elections did have its impact on the whole matter also.
While Russia has not abandoned its support for the Islamic regime altogether, but in recent weeks, the chasm is becoming more pronounced. Moscow’s cancelation of the pre-ordered delivery of several Mig fighter-planes was a sign of things to come. Then came the S-300 Missile Defense System that was initially delayed due to “technical problems” as the excuse, which later on transformed into an outright refusal as it may cause “instability in the region” according to a recent statement by Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Did Netenyahu’s recent trip to Moscow have anything to do with this turn-around? You can bet your mortgage on that one.
But none of this means Russia has totally abandoned its “pressure card” or “Ace” against its rival, the United States. Rest assured that it will continue to use this card in winning more points and compromises from the west.
CHINA – The Chinese seem to be determined to pursue their support for the repressive, fascistic regime in Iran. But that does not come as any surprise as the Chinese government has been a model for this regime in its principles of oppression and brutality. Ahmadinejad’s irrational obsession with imports has made Iran a valuable market for all sorts of cheap Chinese goods. Quality? The notion of quality is thrown out the window!
Aside from stifling and chocking any indigenous industry in Iran, such massive levels of imports from China means the Chinese will block any sort of move against Iran in the UN or any other international organization, be it in respect to the nuclear ambitions of the regime or its brutal oppression and abuse of human rights against Iranian citizens.
Dispatch of several Chinese-made anti-riot trucks to Iran, in order to crack down on dissent even harder (can’t imagine if that is possible, since running over defenseless demonstrators with police jeeps seems barbaric enough). It is believed, in some circles, that the so-called “Iran’s Cyber Army” who are responsible for hacking several opposition websites, disrupting Google services and hacking into emails of anti-government activists, are in fact aided by the Chinese counterparts with the blessings of Beijing.
But while China’s trade is of significance to Iran, their trade with the United States is many folds and there will come a time that China will have to choose which side of its bread is buttered. Once that happens, as we say in Farsi “Ali mimooneh va hozesh”, “Ali” will be left all alone with no-one to rely on.