Iran and Hamas Will Not Enter War
Ghazi Hamad, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hamas government, has clearly announced in an interview that in case of a US attack against Syria, Hamas will take no military action against Israel. On the other hand, the foreign ministers of member countries of the Arab League were not able to reach a decision on a military attack against Syria in their recent meeting. This is while Barack Obama, the US President, has handed over decision-making on a potential attack on Syria to the US Congress. Iranian Diplomacy spoke to Dr. Davood Aghaei, a university professor and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs, about these latest developments and especially about the positions of the Arab countries and Hamas regarding military action against Syria.
Barack Obama, the US President, has stated that he has asked for Congress’ approval for military action against Syria. Why did he take this measure?
Last Wednesday when the media reported about an imminent US attack against Syria, I had predicted in an interview with one of the news agencies that this attack would not take place. Considering the opposition of the British parliamentarians to this attack, Barack Obama reached the conclusion that he would not have the necessary alliance for this attack and would have to act alone and enter into another war, the result of which is unknown. Despite the fact that based on the US Constitution, the President is Commander-in-Chief and has the authority to issue orders for attacks such as the attack against Syria, he handed over decision-making in this regard to the Congress so that a new opportunity would be created and perhaps the members of the Congress would not approve such a measure, thus Obama, based on this disapproval, would withdraw his proposal. In fact, Obama pursued this policy in order to have an extra week to attract more collaboration considering the conditions of the region and with regard to US allies.
The US Congress is supposed to put this issue to vote this Monday. Do you believe that the Congress will approve this measure?
The issue of whether the Congress will allow the President to attack Syria cannot be assessed right now and we must wait and see which direction the consultations between the Congress and the White House lead to. But in general and considering the circumstances, I believe that the Congress will study the matter more precisely and consider the sum of all factors and the consequences. Based on these elements, the US Congress might refuse to give a positive response like the Zionists want them to and not issue the permission to attack Syria. Meanwhile, it should not be forgotten that there are pressures on the US to intervene in the Syrian crisis. Some countries of the region including Saudi Arabia and Turkey are very active in this regard.
You mentioned the pressure exerted by the Arab countries on the US to use military means against Syria. During the past few days, an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League was held and members of this League stated that they support any measure taken by the international community against the government of Syria because of its usage of chemical weapons. Why have they taken such a position?
Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is the most important player in the Arab League. Of course, the role played by other powers like Egypt and Algeria which have expressed their explicit opposition to any attack against Syria must not be forgotten. But the fact is that they cannot resist against Saudi Arabia. The Egyptian and Algerian Foreign Ministers have both stated their opposition to such an attack but we must not forget that a country like Egypt, with all its power, considers itself indebted to Saudi Arabia. The assistance given by Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian army after Morsi’s downfall has led the Egyptian government to align itself with Saudi policies. It is a fact that there are differences between the member countries of the Arab League with regard to how the Syrian crisis should be dealt with, but Saudi Arabia is the leader of the Arab countries, and due to its influence over other member countries, it can sometimes advance its objectives through this alliance.
Hamas has stated that, in case of a US attack against Syria, it will not take military action against Israel. How would you assess this position considering the old relations between Hamas and the government of Syria?
You know that Hamas has recently changed its position with regard to the Syrian government and it cannot be said that Hamas is still an ally of Syria. Even though the government of Syria has, during the course of history and in recent decades, supported Hamas and the Palestinian resistance, there have been differences among the Hamas leaders about their approach towards the two-year crisis in Syria. In the end, Hamas closed its offices in Syria and transferred them to Qatar and Egypt. Therefore, it is obvious that under the present circumstances and in case of a US attack against Syria, one cannot rely on Hamas’ reaction.
While mentioning the Arab League statement, our Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman has stated that the dimensions of any potential military measure against Syria will cover the entire Middle East region. What will Iran’s reaction be to a possible attack by the US and its allies against Syria?
Iran is one of Syria’s strategic allies and since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the government of Iran and its officials have been aware of the fact that the main target behind exerting these pressures against Syria is Iran. In fact, Iran considers Syria as a bunker and if it is captured by the West, the Islamic Republic of Iran will then be faced with serious pressures and problems. One of these issues is related to Iran’s relations with Hezbollah. Nevertheless, in case of the downfall of the government of Bashar Assad, Hezbollah will be pressured even more and relations between Iran and Hezbollah, if not completely cut off, will at least be confronted with numerous problems. Therefore, it is obvious that Iran would oppose any attack against Syria and believe that in case of such an attack the pressures exerted upon it would be increased. On the basis of such an analysis, it will give necessary assistance to Syria. The Islamic Republic of Iran has stated that Syria will not be alone in this war.
Does this mean that in case of an attack against Syria, Iran would be involved in this military intervention?
It seems impossible that Iran would enter this military scene because the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not to enter into military conflicts, but it will continue its financial and spiritual assistance to the government of Syria in different aspects.
In case of a war in the region, what will its impacts be on regional equations? Will there be more tensions in the region? Will the war end rapidly?
Naturally, any war and conflict will have unfortunate and uncertain consequences. No war has ever been able to return calm and stability to a crisis-stricken region. We must not forget that the Middle East is the bed of numerous crises, thus, attacking Syria will have unpredictable and unpleasant consequences. Certainly, if a new war occurs in this region, the crises which have formed during recent years and still exist will be intensified. As many analysts believe, the beginning of the war might be easy and the US would be the initiator but it will certainly not be the one to end it and its results will be unpredictable. The Middle East region is the cradle of events and such a war will indulge other countries as well. This war will not be limited to Syria and will create numerous problems, in my opinion, for the entire region.