Syria is our redline and the Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen axis needs to be preserved and completed at all cost to be used to encircle the rest of the Arab countries
Following a visit by Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), to Syria on September 30, 2014 and his meetings with Bashar al-Assad and other Syrian government officials, this council prepared a report on the developments in Syria for clerical regime’s leaders.
This report emphasizes that Syria is Ali Khamenei’s redline and that in the past three years he has directed all resources to save Bashar Assad and has ordered that all necessary steps should be taken to preserve and complete the Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen ring in order to encircle the rest of the Arab countries.
Some of the points in this report are as follows:
1. The strategy of the Iranian regime remains investing in and keeping Bashar al-Assad regime in power at all cost. Khamenei has emphasized that “the Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen axis” is crucial “for the Islamic Republic of Iran and there should be no retreat in this regard” and that all “necessary measures” should be implemented to this end. It is through this axis that “we can encircle the rest of the Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Jordan,” and put pressure on countries such as Egypt.
2. The report underscores that until a few months ago, the balance of power in Syria had tilted in favor of Assad and that his enemies had weakened. The developments in Iraq, in particular the removal of Nouri al-Maliki from power and the internal problems in that country, created problems for the regime in Syria namely transfer of forces and ammunition to that country via the Iraqi territory. Moreover, the regime was compelled to return from Syria to Iraq a portion of the terrorist paramilitary forces, such as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Abulfadhl al-Abbas and Zolfaqar brigades.
3. However, the more important development was the coalition airstrikes that has changed the scene. The report goes on to add that there is this concern that if the Americans rein in ISIS and strengthen the Free Syrian Army, the situation will turn against Assad. According to Shamkhani’s report, in this trip, the subject of “how to use [coalition] airstrikes [against ISI] to the benefit the Bashar Assad regime was discussed in great detail” with Assad and other Syrian officials.
4. According to the report, following the coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Syria the morale of Bashar Assad and his commanders became very fragile and that Shamkhani’s visit to pump up their moral was quite necessary. Moreover, through this visit, the Iranian regime wanted to “convey this message to the United States and other enemies of Syria that Iran will continue to support Assad full force”.
5. The SNSC report emphasizes that it needs to obtain information on the coalition airstrikes against Syria in any way possible considering it to be “vital for the security of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. The information that the U.S. government provides to the Syrian regime on the bombings is directly passed on to the regime, the report said.
6. Since three years ago and when that the Free Syrian Army became a serious factor and the opposition gained strength, IRGC commanders and advisors went to Syria and de facto took control of “planning and commanding the operations”. The SNSC report states that the “problem in Syria could not be resolved with a conventional war. Therefore, IRGC used all its experience in conventional, urban and unconventional warfare, plus intelligence and security tactics to save Syria. Otherwise, the Syrian army would have been incapable of confronting the opposition and Assad would have been toppled in the first few months”. Two years ago, Assad’s forces were surrounded by their opposition; even the IRGC and Khamenei’s Office were surrounded by the Free Syrian Army.
7. In the more intricate operations, the IRGC commanders and operational forces would be directly present to direct the battle. Many of the IRGC and Quds Force (QF) officers and commanders who had retired or were busy elsewhere in the government returned to IRGC and were transferred to Syria. The IRGC drones collect extensive information on the opposition to further enable Bashar Assad forces to attack them.
8. According to this report, all measures in Syria are coordinated by Ali Khamenei and his Office and he directly issues orders to the QF and its commanders. Khamenei has ordered Qassem Suleimani, Commander of the QF, to consider Syria as his main task. Moreover, He “totally devoted to Syria Commander Hamadani whom all of you gentlemen are familiar with his eminence and his reputation”. Suleimani regularly travels to Syria and there is this saying among Syrian officers that “when Haj Qassem Suleimani is here, we sleep well at night”.
9. According to this report, Khamenei has allocated to Syria the military and political budget and expense of a country and as such “Agha [Khamenei] has stated that Syria is our redline. Had it not been for the leader’s wisdom, everything would have been finished by now” and in that case, we would have faced a calamity in Iraq and Lebanon and “even Tehran would have been affected”.
10. In most military and operational areas and in every checkpoint en routes and between cities, there is a special lane that regime’s military and IRGC elements in Syria pass through by showing their “Iranian National Identification”. Syrian military and security forces hold great respect for the revolutionary guards and consider them as their commanders.
11- In addition to the presence of the IRGC forces and their commanders in Syria as well as training Assad forces in Syria, the IRGC transfers a large number of Assad forces who are primarily from the Alawites Sect to Tehran in groups and returns them to Syria subsequent to going through rigorous training courses (from one to seven weeks). In Syria they are organized in operational groups similar to Basij Force in Iran to fight against the Free Syrian Army. In the beginning they got engaged in the fights under the pretext of defending Shrine of Zeynabieh and subsequently began to fight in defense of Assad regime. Syrian forces go through training in Iran in Imam Ali Garrison.
12- The participation of Turkey in the coalition and the vote by the Turkish Parliament for participation in the coalition and in particular the possibility of involvement of Turkish ground forces into Syria, is very dangerous for the future of Assad . The Iranian regime should prevent the more active intervention of Turkey by utilizing all of its resources.
The above report clearly shows that the Syrian crisis, and procrastination of the conflict and bloodletting in that country are direct consequences of meddling of the clerical regime. Otherwise, Assad regime was overthrown a long time ago and there were no place for growth and expansion of extremist forces in the scope that is occurring currently. Fundamentalism and extremism under the guise of Islam, came to existence in the region 35 years ago with the inception of the clerical regime and will depart the region with the downfall of the mullahs. As such, the creation and expansion of ISIS in Syria and Iraq are direct consequence of ominous meddling and yoke of the mullahs’ regime in these countries. Total defeat of the ISIS hinges upon the total eviction of the clerical regime from Iraq and Syria.
Source: Khamenei strategy for Syria
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