Israel, Iran and the War for Syria
Hazy as these strategic arrangements are, they all boil down to one thing: Iran’s attempt to take over Syria. Turkey talked about its invasion of northern Syria for over a year, and its troops entered Afrin with great media fanfare. But while Turkey was talking, Iran was actually doing. Since the Syrian civil war started in 2011, Iran has been dispatching soldiers, militias, money and weapons to support the Assad regime. The result has been the transformation of Syria from an authoritarian military dictatorship friendly to Iran to an Iranian proxy in desperate need of Iranian support just to stay alive. For Iran, that is a massive strategic opportunity: It can make its continued support of Bashar Assad contingent on Assad’s allowing Iran to do whatever it wants in Syria. And what Iran wants in Syria is a forward base into the Levant.