Taking sides: differing positions in the region

Iran, valuing the international support it has long received from the Assad regime, stretching back to the days of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, has gone out of its way to help Bashar al-Assad in his hour of need. It has provided financial aid to the tune of, it is believed, $5 billion, plus alternative routes for oil export and military aid. For Iran, Syria is a vital ally in its ongoing confrontation with Saudi Arabia and the moderate Sunni world.

The revitalised Arab League, flush with its success in supporting intervention against Qadhafi in Libya last year, has condemned the Syrian government’s repression and called for the departure of the As­sad regime – blind though it is, ironically, to similar attitudes towards their populations among several of its members.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, furious with Syria’s behaviour and with its links to Iran, have been widely reported to have begun supplying arms to the resistance.

Turkey, worried about the crisis spilling over the common border into its own territory and shocked by the brutality of the regime, has also called for Assad’s removal from power. But even though it has offered safe haven to the Syrian opposition, it is loath to commit itself to an armed struggle in case the situation degenerates further.

Lebanon has experienced spillover effects as the Sunni and Alawite battle out their differences in Tripoli and the Syrian security services capture dissidents seeking refuge in Beirut and the Bekaa valley.

Israel is fearful of the implications of regime change, given the long years of armed truce, but appears to favour some kind of Western intervention while protecting its own borders against new threats.


Post a comment

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Amnesty International