“Western intelligence officials say that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has personally sanctioned the dispatch of the experienced officers to ensure that the Assad regime, Iran’s most important regional ally, survives the threat to its survival. In addition, Iran has shipped hundreds of tons of military equipment, including guns, rockets, and shells, to Syria through the regular air corridor that has been established between Damascus and Tehran. Intelligence officials believe the increased Iranian support has been responsible for the growing effectiveness of the Assad regime’s tactics in forcing anti-government rebel groups on the defensive. In the past few weeks, pro-Assad forces have seized the offensive by launching a series of well-coordinated attacks against rebel strongholds in Damascus and Aleppo. The Iranian operation to support Mr Assad is being masterminded by Qassem Suleimani…………”
“With opposition forces consolidating their hold over enclaves in the country captured from the regime, Francois Hollande’s government senses an opportunity for the West to give the rebels military assistance for the first time, a diplomat has said. Until now Western powers have insisted on giving rebel fighters only “non-lethal” aid, fearing that the armed opposition’s chaotic and fractured organisational structure could allow weapons to fall into the hands of radical Islamist groups. While acknowledging that arming the rebels remains potentially hazardous, France is impressed with the way the opposition is administering towns under its control after it set up local revolutionary councils to impose law and order………”
These Iranians, all they seem to have for export, besides oil and gas and carpets, is the same poor old Qassem Suleimani (and some weapons to to allies in Syria and Lebanon). He flies around more than Ahmadinejad, more than McCain and Lieberman: from Damascus to Yemen to Bahrain to Iraq and Lebanon (never fear, he is always near). Playing the favorite bogeyman of the West, of our oligarchs, of the Salafis, and of the Gulf Wahhabi-liberals. No sightings of him in Tel Aviv or Riyadh yet; but the Likud are looking for evidence that he was in Bulgaria a few weeks ago, maybe dressed as a long-haired teenage tourist with a backpack loaded with explosives. So predictable, the mullahs: you’d think this Suleimani would delegate for once and send one of his deputies or flunkies.
But then we can say the same for the Europeans: what they mostly export to our region as solutions are weapons. Arms for the FSA bands, arms and chemical weapons for Saddam Hussein, tear gas and bullets for the despots in Bahrain, etc, etc. Even weapons to the Assad regime if only he had played his cards right (and the Syrian people be damned). I bet they would send the same stuff to Iran if the mullahs play their cards right and go kosher.
Meanwhile the Syrian regime is pissed at Egypt’s president Morsi for calling for the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad (and his replacement with the Muslim Brotherhood, of course). It is not clear what Hajj Erdogan of Turkey thinks of all these developments nowadays.