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Before Attacking Iran, the Asad Regime Must be Removed

The United States and its Western and regional allies who might be contemplating military action against Iran should remove the Asad regime from power first. Threats against Tehran from Israel, Washington, and GCC states will remain empty rhetoric for as long as the Asad regime remains in power. Tehran's mullahs should feel safe while the Asad family maintains its iron grip on Syria.

The Asad clan and Iran are locked into a bond of mutual dependency. The two need each other in order to fortify its hold on absolute power. Asad is vital to Iran’s drive for regional hegemony. Iran is important for the survival of Asad's Alawite ruling minority over Syria’s Sunni majority, though many Alawite notable families and intellectuals are against the Asad clan. A mutual defense pact in February 2005 has consecrated the dependency of the two regimes on each other.
An external military attack on either Syria or Iran will draw the other country into the battle. A Libyan style foreign intervention against the Asad regime or an attack by Israel and its allies on Iran’s nuclear facilities would become a regional war engulfing Syria and Lebanon’s Hizbollah and Iran against Israel, GCC states, and the U.S.

It would be reckless and foolhardy for Iran's enemies to open two war fronts against Damascus and Tehran simultaneously. Limiting the confrontation to one front at a time is possible. Removing Asad from power should continue to be a Syrian affair; however, with help to the revolution from neighboring countries. Money, arms, and organizational advice to Syria’s Free Army could eventually collapse the Asad regime. As the economy deteriorates further, the demonstrations will grow bigger and louder and will spread to Aleppo and Damascus. As the death, injuries, torture, and destruction mount further, defections from Asad’s army and new recruits into the Free Army will accelerate.

March 15, 2012 was the anniversary of the Syrian revolution against the Asad family’s illegitimate tyrannical rule. After more than four decades of Asad’s police state, 75% of the Syrian population yearns for freedom (the other 25% are either beneficiaries of the Asad illicit money grabbing mafia or believe his propagandists that the alternative to Asad is chaos). They realize that the struggle for freedom will be long and painful. They know that Bashar Asad, like his infamous father and uncle, is prepared to destroy Syria, even instigate a regional war, in order to prolong the Asad family's lawlessness and corruption. Syrians have vivid memories of the criminality of Hafiz Asad and his brother Rifaat in obliterating most of the city of Hama in 1982. During the past twelve months since Syria's Spring erupted, Bashar Asad and his brother Maher killed some 10,000 citizens, injured tens of thousands, and pulverized entire districts in many cities. The Asad machine of destruction shall continue to inspire and energize the revolution until freedom is achieved. It is as morally just to intensify the revolt today as was the struggle for liberation from the French mandate, if not more.


How serious is the interest in changing the Tehran regime?

Israel, the United States, and GCC and other Sunni Arab regimes want a regime change in Iran, or at least put Iran's rulers in a box. 

Israel regards Iran’s nuclear ambitions an existential threat.

Washington’s interest in Middle Eastern oil is challenged by Tehran. The Bush/Cheney neo-con project in Iraq must have had Tehran and Damascus in its sights. Controlling Iranian oil resources would have completed U.S. control over Middle Eastern oil. But, the neo-con project in Iraq failed. It handed Iraq to Iran on a silver platter. And, while changing the Asad regime would have enabled the imposition a pax-Americana on the Eastern Mediterranean, the failure of the project created, instead, a Shiite Crescent extending from Iran, to Iraq, to Syria, and to Hizbollah in Lebanon under Tehran’s control.

As for GCC and other Sunni Arab rulers, they see in a “heretical” Shiite Iran a mortal danger. They fear Iran’s growing military strength and the mullahs’ influence over Arab Shiites. With Sunnis ruling over the Shiite majority in Bahrain and over the large Shiite minorities in Yemen and Kuwait; and, in Saudi Arabia’s oil rich Eastern Province where Shiites are the majority, the crescent of Shiism is frightening to Arab potentates.

Given the declared interest by the regional powers and the United States in putting Iran in a box, let alone changing its regime, serious support for Syria’s Free Army from neighbouring countries would sooner than later materialize. Under such conditions, it would only be a matter of time before the Asad family joins the Bin Ali, Mubarak, Qaddafi, and Saleh families in exile, jail, or the cemetery.


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