Assad’s devil’s bargain on display with Iran meeting - analysis


Staff member
Assad’s devil’s bargain on display with Iran meeting - analysis
Bashar Assad needs Iran more than ever as Russia shifts focus to Ukraine, but too much Iranian influence will harm his regime in Syria.
Published: MAY 9, 2022

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and his delegation in Tehran on Sunday. Iranian media put up images of the meeting, showing that they consider it to be important. Assad has not traveled often since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. He visited Moscow in 2015 after Russia agreed to intervene and help him fight the rebellion. In 2017, he again met Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Assad met the Iranian supreme leader in 2019, one of their few meetings since 2011.

This means the Iranian trip was important. While Assad has received Iranian delegations, including the foreign minister of Iran recently, he rarely goes anywhere. He knows that despite having defeated the Syrian rebels, his place in power is not totally secure. Assad has problems at home, there is an upcoming election in Lebanon, Turkey occupies northern Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces run eastern Syria, and there are frequent clashes in southern Syria with former rebels.

In addition, Jordan says militias backed by the Syrian regime are smuggling massive amounts of drugs across Jordan to the Gulf. Assad must also contend with continued airstrikes by Israel against Iranian entrenchment in his country.