By Elaheh Azimfar
On Friday November 13, Paris was targeted in one of the most horrific terrorist attacks Europe has ever seen. Abhorrently, while the French people were in sorrow, the ISIS (ISIL, IS, Daesh) was happy to be behind this crime against humanity and even threatened that there will be more revengeful attacks.
On Saturday November 14, a new round of Syria peace talks were held in Vienna as planned before to determine the future of Assad. France as well as other Western and Arab countries insist that Bashar Assad must go while the Iranian regime and Russia are disguising their backing for Assad by saying that voters must decide his fate.
As a matter of fact, Assad’s future has already been decided by the people of Syria. The Syrian people’s uprising began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against Bashar Assad. Many personnel of the Syrian army left their ranks at the early stages of the revolution to join their people’s resistance movement. Assad was on the verge of being overthrown but Iran’s regime rushed to save him.
On February 14, 2013, Mehdi Taeb, a close aide to the Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, described the strategic importance of Syria to Iran in very clear words: “Syria is Iran’s 35th province. If the enemy attacks us to invade one of the two, our Khuzistan Province or Syria, our priority will be to keep Syria. If we keep Syria, we will be able to take back Khuzistan. But if we lose Syria we won’t be able to even keep Tehran.”
Therefore, Iran’s regime has been heavily involved in backing Assad through forming Iran-type Bassij forces in Syria, dispatching members and commanders of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces, Hezbullah forces from Lebanon and its para-military forces from Iraq to Syria and even through paying needy Afghan refugees in Iran to fight for Assad in Syria. The clerical regime spends 15 to 35 billion dollars every year to keep Assad in power. If not for Tehran’s serious backing, Bashar Assad would have been toppled in Syria a long time ago.
Amidst the terror attacks in Paris, Iran’s regime is playing on the tune that peace will come back to Europe through fighting against terrorist groups in Syria i.e. Syrian opposition against Bashar Assad. In reality, by keeping Assad in power, Iranian rulers are stirring up the Syrian crises and thus spreading terrorism to European cities. Removing Assad from Syria as decided by the Syrian people will have an important impact in ending terror attacks in Europe.
Elaheh Azimfar is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the NCRI’s representative for international organizations.