Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian said his country “welcomes the development of relations between Syria and some Arab countries.” The statement, which came during a visit to Damascus as part of the war in Ukraine that Russia, an ally of Syria and Iran, is waging, also coincides with the final stages of reviving the nuclear deal between Tehran and the Big Five. as well as Bashar al-Assad’s visit to the United Arab Emirates and the normalization of relations with Arab countries.
The question here: Could a normalization of relations between Syria and Arab countries be a challenge for Iran? The answer to this question lies in recognizing the nature of relations between Syria and Iran in the last thirty years. Syria’s support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war was a catalyst for the development of relations between the two countries, but Syrian-Iranian relations in the last thirty years were not without tensions and competition, as there were contentious issues between them, but soon both sides were able to restrain him.
Several factors have reinforced the Syrian-Iranian rapprochement since the establishment of Iran, including the nature of the Syrian regime, which is ruled by an Alawite minority. Syria is predominantly Sunni, but Shiite Iranians have a more tolerant attitude towards Alawites, ideological and regional competition for the leadership of the Arab world between the Syrian and Iraqi Baathist regimes, and the desire for Syria to compensate for the impact of the 1977 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. When the Iranian revolution took place, Syria felt threatened by the Israeli military and saw its alliance with Iran as a way to correct the imbalance created by the treaty. In addition to the availability of economic benefits in the form of oil supply agreements, investments and income from Iranian tourists. It was also important for Iran to emerge from international isolation after the war with Iraq, especially since the eight-year war was portrayed as a war against all the surrounding Arab countries, so Iran had to open relations with Syria.
Syria is vital to Iran’s strategic interests in the Middle East and has long been its closest ally. The Assad regime has given Iran access to the Middle East and its regional representatives, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, by allowing Iran to transfer people, weapons and money to these groups through Syrian territory.
Iran has also provided support for Syria’s chemical weapons programs, including support for Iranian scientists, supply of equipment and chemicals, and technical training. Syria has been Iran’s strategic partner in deterring Israel from attacking its representatives or its nuclear program. Syria also geopolitically occupied a key position in Iran’s project towards regional hegemony through Shiite revival.Through Syria, Iran secures its continued influence on the axis of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq under its leadership as a major regional power with influence in the East medium.
It can be said that the strategic partnership between the two countries has been influenced by the regional situation and its repercussions in each of them, and in turn has been influenced by the relations of each of them with regional and international parties. Regional developments in the region since 9/11 and their aftermath, such as the US war on terror, the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and US policy of regime change in Syria and Iran, have all strengthened relations between the two countries, and indicators of this relationship have emerged in official visits and economic relations, as well as the formation of what was then known as the axis of resistance or resistance, which is based on relations between Syria and Iran. and Hezbollah.
The size of the Syrian-Iranian alliance grew after the Syrian war. Iran has played a major role in Syria since 2011, having intervened in the civil war since its inception and invested great energy in supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. . Syria is the cornerstone of Iran’s regional strategy, which aims to provide the “axis of resistance” in the region to confront its regional neighbors and international powers, so Iran sought to safeguard its interests in Syria by working for ensure that al-Assad remains in power despite his secular ideology, for a number of reasons, including being Iran’s closest ally, and cooperating with Syria, necessary to arm and protect Iran’s regional allies, to not to mention Iran’s fear of the coming to power of any anti-Iranian Sunni group.
In terms of recent developments in the treatment of Syria and the tendency towards normalization of relations, this comes for several reasons, including the curbing of terrorism in the region, which escalated with the Syrian war. The other reason is Russia, which wants to restore relations with Bashar al-Assad, especially with the rise of Arab-Russian relations, in light of the latter’s presence in the region at a time when the United States is withdrawing from it and finally the efforts of countries in the region to dealt with regional crises with new approaches, even if they run counter to American tendencies, especially in light of Washington’s policy toward Iran, which does not take into account the interests of its regional allies.
As Syria and the Arab world have economic reasons for improving relations, things will turn more open, given that Damascus’s economic relations with Russia and Belarus have suffered since the Russian occupation of Ukraine.
However, despite the Iranian Foreign Minister’s statement regarding the opening of Arab countries to Syria, Iran will not welcome such an approach, as Syria is considered the most important pillar of the so-called axis of resistance and Syria is an economic opportunity for Iranin. , with which it will not agree to compete.Arab countries.
* Quoted from “The Independent Arabia”
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