Just Another Guy with Opinions

Syria visits Iran

Posted by shadmia on February 19, 2007


The influence of Iran in the Middle East seems to be growing proportionately to the vilification by the Bush Administration. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, The Palestinians and now Syria have all made high level diplomatic contacts with Iran. Even though some of these countries have philosophical and religious differences with the Iranians there seems to be a renewed spirit of cooperation amongst them.

Theassad.jpg assad-visits-iran.jpglatest visit by the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the fifth visit in 7 years, was aimed at showing the unity between the two countries amid rumors of a rift. Syria has always been a supporter of Iran and was the only Arab country to support the Iranians in their war with Saddam’s Iraq in the 1980’s. The two countries, according to reports, also cooperated on supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Territories. The detente between these two countries is in itself remarkable because they are religious antagonist. Iran is a majority Shiite country while Syria is predominately Sunni. However both Syria and Iran have come under criticism by the US for “not doing enough” to quell the sectarian violence in Iraq, a charge that both countries deny. In fact both Iran and Syria have been the target of US ire for a host of different reasons, which in itself may be the impetus for the spirit of camaraderie between the two.

Bashar al-Assad met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on his latest visit to that country. President Ahmadinejad described the visit as “fruitful” and said:
“Current situations in the region, especially in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan, have doubled the need for co-operation and co-ordination between Iran and Syria, particularly to confront plots by enemies”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke of the ties between Syria and Iran as being “the oldest and deepest of the countries in the region.” and said “the aims of the United States in Iraq have not been realized and there is no sign that they will be realized.

Assad warned that:
The US and Israel were seeking to sow division of the region’s different ethnic and religious groups, particularly in Iraq and Lebanon.

“They want to push the peoples and the governments to make use of ethnicities and create divisions in the Islamic world. It is this final card that they are trying to play,” Assad declared before leaving Tehran.

“If they succeed in this, they will succeed in all their plans,” he said.

Assad’s visit comes at a time when Iran is under pressure from the UN to halt it’s uranium enrichment program or face further sanctions. Also Iraq closed its borders for three days to both Iran and Syria in an effort to stop the flow of arms into Iraq and quell the sectarian violence that has left Iraq in shambles.


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