Iran Signals Implicit Support for Assad Departure.

A poster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad agaisnt the desolation of war torn Syria. Image belongs to Getty Images.
A poster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad against the desolation of war-torn Syria. Image belongs to Getty Images. Joseph Eid took the photo.

April 26th, 2016.

Iran Signals Implicit Support for Assad Departure.

In a break from their long-held position, it appears that Iran is open to a deal that would see the Syrian President Bashar al Assad leave Syria as part of a formula to end the five-year Syrian war with a death toll  now estimated at 400,000.

Syria death toll likely as high as 400,000: UN envoy | Middle East Eye

This information emerged in a Press TV story posted on their you tube channel yesterday.

“Syria president rejected offer for resettlement in Iran”

This story, which must be taken seriously given the source, indicates that Iran is now willing to countenance Assad’s departure, after all, Iran could not have offered Assad refuge if they disagreed with his leaving.

As recently as April 10th senior Iranian spokesmen have stated that there would be no negotiation over the future of the Syrian President.

Syria War Update: Bashar Assad Removal Is ‘Red Line,’ Iranian Official Says

Iran official: Assad removal from Syria a ‘red line’ | The Times of Israel

This position, shared publicly by the Syrian government appears to have been one reason that the Geneva peace talks have never achieved anything so the apparent change in the Iranian position seems to indicate a broadening consensus that it may be in the best interests of Syria for a government of national unity to be formed without the President.

Betrayal?

Elements of the Iranian military and the Iran proxy Hezbollah have been involved in heavy combat in Syria and have taken severe casualties, judging by the funerals.

Many have stated correctly that it should be up to the Syrian people to decide Assad’s fate and many will see the shift in the Iranian position as a sell out and a betrayal, caving in to the demand for regime change after all this time.

Regime Change.

My understanding, is that when the Neoconservative chorus calls for regime change, this is merely a means to an end. The real goal is the destruction of the target state and the call for regime change is a ruse that is used as a vehicle to achieve this more sinister long-term goal.

The point is to demand the impossible and achieve the secondary goal on the back of the initial deliberately unrealistic demand for the leader to pack up and leave because Washington DC said so.

All of the war hype is focused on the “brutal dictator” and the idea that only if this one individual could be removed from power everything would be alright, childish nonsense in its own right but the real goal is the destruction of these states along the lines envisaged soon after 911 by the wonderfully malevolent Neoconservative US  official Paul Wolfowitz.

Before the onslaught in Iraq began in March 2003 the US President delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his sons, “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict.”  The US military would be entering Iraq even if Saddam chose to leave but:

“It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life. “

When the US invaded Iraq the Iraqi military largely followed Bush’s advice and the invasion force was thus met with only limited resistance from loyalist political units while the bulk of the army stood down.

The Iraqi Government fell within weeks of the invasion as a result of this decision yet by May 2003 Paul Bremer, the ranking US civilian official in Iraq decided to disband the Iraqi Army.  This decision, Coalition Provisional Authority order number 2  was the cause of Iraq’s destruction as a nation-state and all the horror that followed until the present day.

So the Neoconservative goal is to destroy Syria entirely, the demand for Assad to leave is simply the impossible demand that masks the deeper goal. The same was true in Libya.

Conclusion.

If Assad’s departure is part of a process of forming a genuine government of national unity and thus ending the war and preserving the state this may be a worthy deal. It seems wrong that the authors of so much misery and destruction should be rewarded for their efforts but the first priority must be the preservation of life and the second the state.  Such is the chaos in Syria and the strength of the extremists of Al Nusra and ISIS that it is likely the insurgency will continue on its bloody way for several years even if there is a political deal and some type of unity government is formed.

The fate of Bashar al Assad is incidental when compared to the suffering and instability caused by the war and if Assad chose to leave his fate would be a far happier one than befell Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.