Some of the main negotiators of the Iran nuclear interim deal at the table (from left): Russian Foreign Minister of Sergei Lavrov Russia, the EU´s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Cathrin Ashton and Iran´s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (BBC)
Comment: The Iranian Elephant on the Middle East Table
The US can´t handle everything in the world at the same time. Its focus shifts to the Pacific, away from Europe and the Middle East.
In Syria, Iran has manoeuvred itself into a position allowing it to extract concessions from its foes. It can´t dominate, but now it sits like a huge elephant on the table, in the middle of the region and just won´t go away. Its opponents have to deal with that, and they obviously don´t know how.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri stunned his fellow countrymen with his readiness to build a cabinet together with his foe Hezbollah. (DW-TV)
An explosive and dangerous mixture of war and several security incidents has accumulated in the Levant. Lebanon is seen by many in the “eye of the storm”. We don’t think such is on the horizon for the time being.
With its engagement in Syria, Iran has carved out chances to broaden its influence in the region. It cannot dominate, but it has manoeuvred itself in position to force others into making significant concessions. A new balance of power is being established that could safe the region from catastrophe.
Will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet Iran´s President Hassan Rouhani at the World Economic Forum in Davos? (World Economic Forum)
Indications of new settlements for the Middle East are peeking around the corner. From our point of view those potential developments are logic, because everything else would bring about chaos over the whole region. Chaos that could easily spread like wildfire and get out of hand. No major player can afford that.
Hawks can make decisions
On January 17, 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as reported by the Jerusalem Post, citing Canadian CTV News, he would consider meeting Iran´s President Hassan Rouhani if the latter recognized Israel´s right of existence.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Syria at a meeting in Paris, on January 13, 2014. (DW-TV)
The international community and regional powers have obviously come to the conclusion not to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in order to ward off a bigger catastrophe in the region. We think the next step is not far: from passive support for the rebels to active support for Assad and his security apparatus against a growing Jihadist movement.
Payback statement by Syria
On January 15, as reported by Reuters and the Lebanese Broadcasting cooperation (LBC), Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said intelligence services of some Western countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have visited Damascus to discuss security cooperation.
Screenshot of an undated video showing Maher and Bashar al-Assad. (France24)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – (Part 6, final)
So where do we go from here? Our estimations are based on the assumption that regional and international powers have come to the conclusion not to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in order to ward off a bigger catastrophe in the region.
Is he going to restore his power? Difficult to say.
The balance of power seems to have tipped, yes. But neither is the war won nor will he have the free hand, he had before. Assad is heavily indebted to Hezbollah, Iran and Russia now.
A deserted street in Tripoli during fighting between Alawites and Sunnites. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 2
Not happy with Hezbollah
People in Lebanon – many Shiites among them – are not content and even angry about Hezbollah´s role in Syria. But they can’t or don’t want to get rid of the organization for several reasons.
Many Shiites depend on Hezbollah, and the others just have no serious means to confront the organisation or are bound in political affiliations. Though, the latter may be in flux as some recent moves of Christian leader Michel Aoun suggest, who signed a Memorandung of Understanding with Hezbollah.
A Syrian army tank firing rounds in the battle for Qusayr. (Al-Jazeera)
Estimation and outlook on the situation in Syria and the region – Part 1
The battlefield situation in Qusayr, Syria, remains unclear. Some circumstantial conclusion can be drawn from news reports. The recent overall coverage of developments by pro-opposition media outside the country is very telling, just as reactions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) command.
Realities reloaded for the media
Since some weeks, pro-opposition media in Europe and the US are tuning down their war drums. Western commentators, who tried to push through an agenda of regime change and intervention for two years now, did fall relatively silent when it comes to analysis.
Die Einschätzung nimmt Bezug auf auf den Artikel “Assad’s Löwinnen” (Spiegel Online), dessen Tenor war, die Regierung von Syrien Präsident Bashar al-Assad werfe nun die letzten Kräfte ins Feld (“Volkstum”). Wir sehen das völlig anders.
Wir bitten sprachliche Nachlässigkeiten zu entschuldigen. Der Text wurde schnell “heruntergeschrieben” und sollte – wie gesagt – lediglich ein Kommentar in einem Forum sein.
Einschätzung: In Syrien sieht es aus unserer Sicht danach aus, als ob sich die Armee auf einen Generalangriff gegen die Aufständischen vorbereitet, dafür sämtliche kampferprobten Soldaten von vernachlässigbaren Position abzieht (Checkpoints) und an anderen Stellen zusammenzieht.
Exportchef von Russlands staatlicher Rüstungsfirma Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin: Russland plant nicht, sein Luftabwehrsystem S-400 Triumf vor 2015 ins Ausland zu exportieren. (RIA Novosti)
Einordnung: In den vergangenen Jahren wurde in Medien regelmäßig über den Verkauf des Luftabwehrsystems S-400 sowohl an Iran als auch an Saudi-Arabien spekuliert. Die mutmaßlichen Geschäfte sollen einen Umfang von mehreren Millarden US-Dollar gehabt haben.