Iran's Chickens and the Baltic Fleet |
Al Hayat - 27 July, 2012
Author: Zuheir Kseibati
Supreme Guide Khamenei is only bothered by the quarrels between the symbols of the Iranian regime, while his eyes are on the regime in Damascus and his heart is with them. But are President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s and Parliament Speaker Ali Laijani’s quarrels not the ones undermining the Street’s confidence in the regime of the Islamic Republic? In the meantime, the authority seems to be on the threshold of a “chickens battle” after poultry prices rose, and the Guide is disgruntled because this is no time for jokes, but rather for tending to the battle in Syria.
The Iranians are demonstrating against the rise affecting the price of chicken, and the Guide perceives the fall of 20,000 dead in Syria as being a mere battle between the “front of infidels and the front of the resistance.” It is as though he is prohibiting the Syrians – half or three quarters of them – from demonstrating and condemning the killing and destruction, even accusing them of infidelity!
Moscow and Tehran are exchanging escalatory roles at the level of the bloody Syrian conflict in order to protect the axis of “rejectionism” against the “evils” of what they perceive as being an American-Arab conspiracy to topple the regime in Damascus. But while the motives of both Kremlin and the Guide are understood based on the language of interests, what is noticeable is that a state which used to be a global superpower has started to see the Iranian method as being a model to be followed, thus sending fleets to the Mediterranean Sea, accusing America of preparing to topple the Syrian regime, interfering at the level of the people’s will, supporting the regime with aircrafts and becoming provoked by the positions of the West against the massacres. Moreover, it is blaming Washington for having abstained from condemning the liquidation of the “crisis cell” in Damascus, at a time when it is settling for demanding the opening of an investigation whenever the Syrians are afflicted with a massacre or a slaughter.
And while Moscow has picked up on the “keyword” in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s call upon the oppositionists to establish safe zones, in reality, Aleppo appeared to be during the last few hours as if it were a second Benghazi in the making, which is why its battles grew fiercer. Vessels from the Black Sea fleet and the Baltic fleet have reached the Syrian coast, the Turkish chemical war units are at the border and Moscow – which is disgruntled about the American “instigation” – is almost convinced it can no longer sustain the cohesion of the regime in Damascus following the liquidation of the crisis cell.
What would justify the Russian anger - that should not reach the point of engaging the American navy in the Mediterranean - is most likely the total failure to secure any deal with Barack Obama’s administration. Indeed, Putin is aware of the fact that what Clinton is announcing in installments is one way of getting back at the Russian display of power practiced through the veto at the Security Council without allowing the regime to crush the uprising, but also at Russia’s use of the umbrella of sovereignties and international law, without condemning the fall of 20,000 people or managing to stop the momentum on the street.
What also angered Kremlin is definitely the Arabs’ call upon the Syrian opposition to start preparing for the announcement of a transitional government in a way going in line with the American-European position, and the fact that Washington and its European allies can settle for managing the conflict politically. This is true unless the conflict were to reach the red lines, i.e. the Syrian regime’s use of the chemical arsenal or its provocation of war starting from the Golan.
As to the guarantees that were received by Kremlin from the Syrian regime in regard to the chemical weapons, they will clearly not change anything at the level of Moscow’s gains from the West, except for a limited and temporary distancing of the intervention probability. Nonetheless, that probability could quickly grow close to a conflict, in case the American administration uses the “pretext” of Damascus’ use of combat jets.
One would inevitably think that the Turkish mobilization which coincided with the Aleppo battle must be accompanied by a NATO mobilization in preparation for any retaliation that might be carried out by the Syrian regime. And while NATO’s silence is provoking further Iranian anger, the Guide’s disgruntlement toward Damascus’ inability to settle the situation is the one pushing the Revolutionary Guard to threaten with decisive strikes against the front of the “enemy and the hated Arabs.”
This is how Iran divides and classifies the Arabs, but also divides the Syrians between resistance fighters and infidels. And while it is certain that the only sure thing is the continuation of the bloodbaths in Syria for many months, the other facet of this truth is that the selling of illusions is no longer duping anyone. And inside Damascus, everyone knows that the allies abroad have grown tired of waiting for a deal that will never come.
It is enough for the Arabs to remember Iran’s belittlement of the conflict in Syria since the beginning, its later recognition of the necessity for Damascus to implement reforms and its offer to host dialogue between the regime and the opposition, i.e. between those whom it dubs resistance fighters and the front of infidels.
Is this anger in Tehran and Moscow, or panic? Iran is threatening with a religious war, knowing that the Revolutionary Guard has closed the Hormuz Strait dozens of times. As to the freedoms of its people and their war against the rise of prices, they are mere details which only require the unification of the ranks in the face of “Satan.”