Tehran is depriving the region of solutions

What the Arabic press is saying about Syria.

Workers clean the area from broken glass as forensic inspectors examine the site of an explosion that occurred on Sunday outside the headquarters of the Lebanese Blom Bank in Beirut. Reuters / Jamal Saidi
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There is no solution on the horizon for Syria. Or for Iraq. Or for Lebanon. In Yemen, Iran-backed Houthi rebels have rejected attempts to find a solution and continue to throw the country deeper into chaos, according to the columnist Abdulwahab Badrakhan in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

“The common denominator between Iran supporters is their disregard for notions such as civil peace, stability and the future of their countries and communities,” the writer noted. “The only thing that matters to Iran’s rulers and their supporters is remaining in power.”

One has only to observe Iranian general Qassem Sulaimani’s excesses in Baghdad or Bashar Al Assad’s crimes and barrel bombs in Syria. In Yemen, Houthis persist in their scheme to destroy Taiz and guarantee it a fate similar to that of Aleppo. In Lebanon, Hizbollah hasn’t spared any efforts to paralyse state institutions and even tamper with the financial system, Lebanon’s only remaining pillar of stability.

For her part, the columnist Hoda Al Husseini, writing in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat, anticipated that the situation in Syria and Iraq would deteriorate even further.

Following the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in 2012, there were concerns of ensuing complications. What is happening now doesn’t come as a surprise. In the past few years, the world has focused on Syria more than Iraq, perhaps because of all the bloodshed there and because of an intransigent president that insists on prolonging the war.

The United States has a role to play in Syria as well. By the end of August 2014, president Barack Obama drew the line at the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but he soon backed out for reasons that have become well-known and the Assad regime regained its bloody vigour, she noted.

The US has invested a lot of time and blood in Iraq but they seem to have chosen to forget about it in the past couple of years, especially after they handed the country to Iran, she added.

In 2010, Ayad Allawi won the elections by one vote, but it was the other contender, Nouri Al Maliki, who formed the government with the US seal of approval, an approval they acquiesced to under threats from Iran.

“The problem with the withdrawal of the US troops is that it came hand in hand with a political withdrawal and tightened the hold of Iran on the country,” wrote Al Husseini. “Obama was keen to turn his back by adopting an illogical foreign policy in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the region, feeling that his administration has an interest in allowing Iran to fill the void in Iraq and not giving heed to strategic outcomes or moral responsibility,” she added.

The outcome was an even less stable country suffering from chronic sectarian discrimination to serve political objectives. All this caused fatal damage to the Iraqi people, particularly the young population below thirty years of age.

“According to Iran, the solution in Syria is the key to the solution in Iraq, Lebanon and even Yemen but with a slight difference: Tehran could not complete its ‘sectarianism’ of the opposition as the Yemenis were not prone to take in the poison being injected into their community,” Badrakhan said.

“Any solution based on Syria’s continued unity will be a major setback for Iran’s plans and ambitions, even if such a solution ensues from negotiations where Moscow spares no effort to strip the Geneva Communiqué and any international resolutions of any substance that might refer to a “political transition,” he added.

UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura once raised the prospect of Al Assad disappearing from the scene for one reason or another to his Iranian interviewee.

“What would you do in this case?” de Mistura asked him. To which the interviewee replied: “That is an unlikely assumption and one which we do not consider.”