Thursday, June 27, 2013

Video: Iranian Strategy in Syria - June 27, 2013

The third in a series of briefings hosted by the American Enterprise Institute,
the Institute for the Study of War, and the Reserve Officers Association.

Iranian Strategy in Syria

Kimberly Kaganpresident, Institute for the Study of War 
Will Fultonanalyst, Critical Threats Project 
Joseph Hollidayfellow, Institute for the Study of War  
Marisa Sullivan, fellow, Institute for the Study of War
The Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted an extensive, expensive, and integrated effort to keep President Bashar al Assad in power as long as possible while setting conditions to retain its ability to use Syrian territory and assets to pursue its regional interests should Assad fall. The Iranian security and intelligence services are advising and assisting the Syrian military in order to preserve Bashar al Assad’s hold on power. Iran has been providing essential military supplies to Assad, primarily by air, making the air line of communication between Iran and Syria a key vulnerability for Tehran’s strategy in Syria. Iran is also assisting pro-government shabiha militias, partly to hedge against Assad’s fall or the contraction of the regime into Damascus and a coastal Alawite enclave. 

Will Fulton, Joseph Holliday, Marisa Sullivan, and Kimberly Kagan, led a discussion on Iranian activity in Syria and Lebanon

Lebanese Hezbollah began to take on a more direct combat role in Syria as the Assad regime began losing control over Syrian territory in 2012, and their involvement rapidly escalated in May 2013 with the assault on al Qusayr. Iraqi Shi‘a militants are also now fighting in Syria in support of Assad. The open participation of Iraqi Shi‘a militants in Syria is an alarming indicator of the expansion of sectarian conflict throughout the region. 
The forecast of Iran's investment in the Syrian conflict was covered in detaill

The Syrian conflict has already constrained Iran’s influence in the Levant, and the fall of the Assad regime would further reduce Tehran’s ability to project power. Iran’s hedging strategy aims to ensure, however, that it can continue to pursue its vital interests if and when the regime collapses, using parts of Syria as a base as long as the Syrian opposition fails to establish full control over all of Syrian territory.
The panelists took questions on Iranian capabilities in the Levant and American policy options
Past Events
Defining the Threat Series LaunchMarch 21, 2013   
Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, April 18, 2013