Russia spends large resources to support the Assad regime. But the war in Syria is far from over, and the economy destroyed. Could this be a prerequisite for the departure of Bashar al-Assad?
Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan of jagaran finally decided to dot the “i”. In mid-may, he gave an interview to the Iranian Mehr news Agency, which announced the official position of the Russian Federation in respect of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In it the Ambassador, in particular, has denied rumors that Moscow was allegedly unhappy with the Syrian leader and agreed with Tehran on its offset.
“Russia will continue to support the political process in Syria and the legitimate government of this country. The future of Syria belongs to its people, and only he can make decisions about their country,” said jagaren.
The basis of the rumors about the rift between Russia and Iran, on the one hand and Bashar al-Assad, on the other, is the fact that the war in Syria continues for more than nine years, and the uncompromising stance of the Assad regime still does not allow to achieve a complete cease-fire.
Russia and Iran spend on military operation in this country has vast resources and has long been looking for an opportunity to end the conflict. In addition, in recent months, Moscow and Tehran are forced to allocate significant funds for the fight against coronavirus at home: against this background, military costs are borne by their budgets even more of a burden.
“Russia and Iran holding on to Assad”
Despite this, Russia and Iran continue to cling to Assad, said the expert of the European Council on foreign relations (ECFR) Julien Barnes-Dickey. “Russia would like to see Assad played a more constructive role in the country’s politics. But Moscow also understands that in Syria, he remains a key player and holds the power in their hands,” – says the employee of the ECFR.
According to him, Assad continues to rely and the Iranian authorities. “Tehran was a little worried about how viable will be the Syrian political system. To a much greater extent it is a question of national security of the country. In Iran believe that Assad is the best guarantor,” says Julien Barnes-Dickey.
This is confirmed by recent statements by the Advisor to the speaker of the Iranian Parliament for international Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian. He also denied rumors that political leaders in Tehran and Moscow agreed to remove Assad from power. Reports of such a deal is rubbish, he said, stressing that Assad is the legitimate President of Syria.
The conflict in the family of Assad
At the same time, in Syria Assad is not supported by all. The style of his reign unhappy, even some members of his entourage. In late April, the cousin of the Syrian leader Rami Makhlouf is one of the richest people in the country – complained to Twitter and Facebook to pressure the Syrian security forces on his business Empire.
The oligarch, whose fortune is estimated at $ 5 billion, says that the authorities require him to abandon owned company Syriatel, the largest mobile operator in the country and one of the main sources of government revenues and to pay the state duty in the amount of $ 170 million.
“The pressure has become intolerable and inhuman, the security services began arresting our employees. Does anyone expect that the security forces will come in the company of Rami Makhlouf, while I was the largest supporter and patron of these structures?”, – the businessman is perplexed.
Assad’s wife in a new role?
Apparently, the conflict between Bashar al-Assad with his cousin testifies to the redistribution of zones of economic influence in the country. It is possible that a leading role in the Syrian economy now is going to play the President’s wife ASMA Assad.
May 17, the first lady made a televised address to the nation, in which he stated the intention of the presidential office to take on the issues of assistance to Syrians affected by the fighting. Informed monitoring of such programs involved, including, and Rami Makhlouf. In addition, the wife of al-Assad acknowledged that the country faced a deep economic crisis and promised to undertake the necessary reforms.
A chronic shortage of funding
The fact that Rami Makhlouf publicly spoke out against Syrian authorities, evidence of a split in the President’s entourage, said the ECFR expert Julien Barnes-Dickey. However, he is convinced that it will not be able to harm Assad. “The President holds the power in the country in their hands. Even the elite had little to do against his will” – the analyst believes.
This, however, is unlikely to help Assad to solve major economic problems in Syria because of the war. In addition to Russia and Iran and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, Assad no serious ally. Western countries refrain from any steps that could help keep Assad in power. The situation is moreover complicated by the problems in the world economy due to pandemic coronavirus. Therefore, the Syrian budget probably will still have to suffer from a chronic lack of funding.