“The fall of Assad will be a blow to Iran”

by Jasmin Ramsey

We’ve been hearing that line, or variations of it, since people in the US began taking the uprising in Syria seriously. But what exactly does that statement mean? It sounds simple enough: the leadership in Syria and Iran are allies, so the fall of Assad’s regime will make Iran weaker. It’s always more complicated than that, however, as foreign policy expert Vali Nasr points out during this March 19 interview with Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Do you see a shift in the Syria debates in Washington?

Nasr: The US policy is still catching up with others. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, even Turkey are much more engaged in the conflict than the United States. They understand it is of vital importance.

SPIEGEL: And Iran is particularly engaged.

Nasr: Basically everybody in the region on the good side and the bad side is “all in” in Syria. Every nation that is, but the US.

SPIEGEL: If the US government managed to settle that conflict, would that be the biggest blow to Iranian ambitions in the region?

Nasr: Iran would only get a blow if there was a very clear victory for the anti-Assad faction, and that does not look like it will happen.

That last answer is another loaded one-liner. Now unpack that one before reading about the “Free Syria Act of 2013“.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.


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