News / Middle East

US Says Syria's Assad Turns to Iran to Keep Power

U.S. officials say Iran is increasingly active in backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's campaign of violence against his own people.

As opposition attacks against the Syrian government grow, U.S. officials say Damascus increasingly seeks help from Iran to hold onto power.

Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus told U.S. lawmakers Iran helps Syria because it is fighting to maintain its position in the region.

"Clearly the loss of Syria as a logistics platform, a line of communication into Lebanon to support Hezbollah, would be a substantial setback for Iran in its efforts to use Hezbollah as a proxy, and that is indeed why the Revolutionary Guards corps Quds Force is so engaged in trying to prop up Bashar al-Assad right now," Petraeus said.

Syrian opposition member Samir Nassar says Iran must stop backing President Assad.

"The Syrian National Council is against the Iranian regime's stance on Syria," he said. "While Syrians are being killed, we urge Iran to stop helping the Syrian regime.”

Analyst Marou Innocent from the Cato Institute research group says Iran and its Hezbollah allies face an uncertain future in Syria.

“We have seen actually many Syrian protesters begin to burn Hezbollah flags, Iranian flags," said Innocent. "So there is again a fissure within Syria.  These are former allies of the Assad regime, and the Assad regime stood up the West and to the United States.  Now, again, we see the fracturing of those coalitions within Syria and a depreciation of Hezbollah's influence and Iran's influence within the country.”

But it’s not certain that Iran would lose all influence in Syria after President al-Assad.

U.S. Institute of Peace Middle East analyst Steve Heydemann notes some Syrian nationalists in the opposition value their ties with Tehran.

“If Syria were somehow to slip out of the Iranian column, it would be an enormous blow to Iran's ability to project its influence regionally," said Heydemann. "But again, that is only if we imagine that an alternative Syrian government would re-orient Syria's foreign policy.  And I do not think we can take that for granted.”

It is not only Iran's support for Hezbollah that might suffer from a change of government in Damascus.  Tehran could also find it harder to supply arms and money to Hamas in Gaza, at a time Iran's economy is declining under sanctions against its nuclear program.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs