Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 15
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Tehran, Damascus ties is actually an alliance of convenience, Stephen Zunes, a US expert on Middle Eastern issues believes.
An alliance of convenience is the initiation of security cooperation between ideological and geopolitical adversaries in response to an overarching third-party threat.
"The relationship between the secular Arab nationalist Syrian regime and the Shia theocracy in Iran has always been an alliance of convenience, not one of ideology or religion, Zunes, who is professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco University, told Trend.
Tehran has always expressed support for the Syrian government since it views the Bashar Al-Assad regime as its main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.
The disputes over the future of Assad has so far the key factor behind the fail of Syria peace talks, as Tehran expresses support for President Assad's government, while their rivals including Saudi Arabia and Turkey demand his exile.
Tehran, for the first time, participated in international talks on the conflict in Syria which were held in Vienna on Oct. 30. The Islamic Republic was also present in Nov. 14 peace talks and is expected to participate in upcoming international peace efforts as well.
Zunes said that the ongoing tragedy in Syria is destabilizing the region, strengthens Salafi extremists, and is not in the interest of any state in the region.
"With diplomatic efforts increasing, perhaps the Iranians want to send a signal to Assad that he needs to compromise and they should not count on unconditional support from Tehran."
The expert also believes that Iran will not be able to maintain its current influence in Syria in post-Assad period.
"Though almost any post-Assad Syrian government would presumably be less friendly towards Iran, the fact that Iran is becoming less isolated internationally as a result of the nuclear deal and a more moderate president means there is less of a need to remain close to the current Syrian regime, which has become something of a pariah in the international community due to its savage repression," Zunes said.