Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Alliance of the Doomed

Hearing talks of an Iranian-approved Turkish rapprochement with the Assad regime mediated by Russia, it becomes apparent that weakness, not strength, binds this Asaad-Iran-Russia alliance together. It is the alliance of the doomed.

For example, the Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced that his country is willing to supply Lebanon with fuel and rehabilitate its electric power grid. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Iran has stopped supplying oil to Syria at low prices. The WSJ claims that Tehran has informed the Syrian regime that it must pay for additional fuel shipments. Worse still, Iran itself is struggling with a gas shortage crisis.

The other interesting matter here is that Assad has been downplaying the prospects of a rapprochement with Türkiye, conditioning it on an end to the “Turkish occupation” of Syrian territory and cooperation on what he called fighting “terrorism.” These conditions were not resolved during the negotiations between Türkiye and Assad but through pressure from Russia. Indeed, Moscow seeks to reconcile Türkiye and Assad, and the reason for this is that it wants to dedicate all of its capacities to the war in Ukraine.

Reports suggest that the Russians intend to transfer the equipment and forces stationed in Syria to Ukraine. They are thus seeking “understanding” between Türkiye and Assad because the Russians do not want to see Iran fill the void that will be left by their withdrawal from Syria filled by Iran.

This raises questions about the seriousness of this alliance between Iran and Russia, which was born out of necessity, given Iran’s domestic affairs, which have left the Mullah regime in crisis and constantly clashing with the Europeans. In addition, the prospects of agreeing to a nuclear deal with the US are waning.

Thus, we are looking at allies, Russia-Iran-Assad, who cannot meet their obligations to their people, or one another. They do not trust one another. All of their strength is founded on the fact that the international powers do not have a real strategy for dealing with the Russians, the Iranians, or of course, the Assad regime, which is the most vulnerable among them.

All of this tells us that every foreign battle is a losing one, as the main battle is for building the country domestically- within each individual country- not expansion through wars and conspiracies. It also tells us that any regime’s strength is primarily a matter of domestic strength that derives from its economic, political, and social projects, and not through militias, trading in human life, playing the sectarian card, terrorism, assassinations, and other tactics.

It has also become apparent that this alliance of necessity or alliance of the doomed is not sustainable or successful. Any impact it may have will be destructive for the countries of the alliance themselves. Regardless of the damage done elsewhere, the biggest losers, in the end, will be the parties to the alliance.

The biggest loser among the members of this alliance is its weakest link, the Syrian regime, which owns nothing in light of Russia and Damascus’ domination of the country. Indeed, the Iranians have deeply infiltrated Syria, which is struggling worse than Iraq politically and worse than Lebanon both economically and politically.

True, Lebanon has a presidential vacuum, but Syria is a presidency without a country, neither geographically nor structurally. Thus, we are looking at an unsustainable alliance, whatever is being said.