The last United States ambassador to Syria said that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has won, that Iran is likely to stay in Syria, and that “this is the new reality that we have to accept, and there isn’t much we can do about it,” in an interview Monday.
In the interview, which was conducted by the Emirati newspaper The National, Robert Ford also said that the dynamic on the ground, “has made the situation worse for Israel.”
Without more assistance in the form of “money, weapons – including surface-to-air missiles” as well as military advisers from their backers, Ford explained, “it would be impossible [for the rebels] to defeat Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies.”
Ford also noted that even though Assad was violating ceasefires that Russia had arranged, Russia would take no action against Assad for doing so. He also said that he expected Assad to try and assert control over all of Syria and even to target the Kurds.
Regarding the threat to Israel from the new alignment, Ford said that Iran has thousands of fighters from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan under its command and that they “are not going home after this settles.” He added that these fighters “are battle-hardened and would reinforce Hizbollah in any new war against Israel.”
In addition, the placement of Russian anti-aircraft weaponry in Syria was limiting Israel’s freedom to maneuver in the air.
A year ago Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Falaki, who commanded many of the Afghan fighters said that Iran had formed a “Shia liberation army” with the goal of destroying Israel.
Jonathan Spyer, director of the Rubin Center, wrote in an analysis last week that Iran was emerging strengthened in its control of both Syria and Iraq. He observed further that the Sunni-led states, Israel, and the United States lacked the focus and unity to defeat “the cohesive and coherent Iran-led bloc.”
[Photo: CGTN / YouTube]