Iran Deal Heartens Syria’s Assad, Worries Rebels

Assad 'Confident' of More Help Against ISIS

With the Iran deal setting the stage of a new rapprochement with the West and some major new business deals, Iran’s billions freed up after protracted negotiations, will be going a lot of different places. Syrian President Bashar Assad is hoping he’ll be among the beneficiaries.

Assad sent a telegram congratulating Iran’s Supreme Leader on the nuclear deal, saying in it that he is confident Iran will support “just causes” across the region and the world. Iran has been supporting both Syria and Iraq against ISIS.

The rapprochement with the West may change Iran’s involvement somewhat in Iraq, with increased chances for joint operations with the US and other nations against ISIS. They both like Iraq’s Shi’ite-dominated government, after all.

In Syria, however, the US is simultaneously against ISIS and the Shi’ite-dominated government. That leaves Iran more isolated in backing Syria. Though the Assad government is hoping that means Iran will be more aggressive therein, it could go the other way, and have Iran focusing on Iraq in the near-term, trying to weaken ISIS there first.

Either way, the Sunni Islamist rebel factions are worrying about the deal, and the prospect that Iran, a Shi’ite power, is going to get more powerful and subsequently more influential in the region.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.