One cannot truly address Iranian role in the Syrian war and widely in the Middle East without talking about successful overthrowing of democratically elected government of Mosaddegh by CIA in 1953 and installation of a dictatorial puppet regime eventually ran by questionable character such as Reza Pahlavi a CIA asset himself, a feudal, artificial, postcolonial outgrowth of Iranian political stage.
Instead of secular nation-state with functioning democratic institutions, massive educational and health care programs covering all the Iranians financed via nationalization of natural resources, oil and gas, as well as state control of basic material industries in order to increase standard of living and steady economic and cultural modernization of rural areas away from neo-feudal social order dictated by Islamic religion, Iranians got dictatorship, pomposity, opulence, greed and narcissism of the royal court of a Shah of Iran building Potemkin villages of abundance and western commercial culture while pushing most of population into abyss of economic depression and using CIA trained death squads brutally suppressing mostly leftist secular political opposition and religious political enemies some of who were allowed to “emigrate” to Europe or US.
But in late 1970-ties after years of oil embargo imposed by OPEC on the US (Iran is a member), relationship with Washington went cold and W.H. grew weary of excesses of opulence and brutality that did not look good in context of Washington propaganda campaign about economic egalitarianism and human rights aimed against Soviets.
On the other hand Pahlavi and his court grew restless watching their US invested wealth evaporated after 1973 stock market collapse and collapse of dollar after dropping gold parity value and therefore seriously mistrusted their Washington handlers.
In 1979 Iranian middle class of royal courtiers as well as Washington wanted him out as much as political left did waiting for a chance to return to democratic rule of early fifties and re-nationalize natural resources to lift economy from oil embargo induced economic depression.
The US elites themselves were wiling to let go of shah while preserving another democratic looking puppet regime including friendly clerics who would escalate religious fervor to suppress the leftist or Marxist revolutionary movements considered as bigger threat in comparison to benign Muslims extremists already installed in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
The Shah of Iran was not overthrown by Islamic revolution but by a left-center lead secular nationalist revolution demanding return to fully democratic rule from times of Mosaddegh.
Unfortunately, the original revolution was hijacked by misguided US and western (British and French) support of Islamic revolution, thought to be more friendly to western economic interests in Iran.
Against what contemporary US propaganda wanted to posit, occupation of the US embassy in Tehran by leftist Iranian students (also religious) was a deliberate political ploy of the left (not Islamists) to assure that new revolutionary Iranian government turns away from US protectorate and/or be rejected by the Washington for reasons of saving face after such a humiliation.
It was CIA support for Iranian clerics and Islamic Shia extremist that doomed true democratic revolution of 1979 and pushed politically diverse Iran into nightmare of another totalitarian regime of Islamic republic.
The Iranian clerics and Islamic revolutionary guard while reluctantly spewed anti-American rhetoric to please the mob, clandestinely cooperated with CIA and President-elect R. Reagan campaign to release US hostages and secure defeat of the leftist movements via massive arrest and executions of the communists, socialists, social –democrats and others what was met with deafening silence in the western media and was widely reported in the Soviet union and eastern Europe.
It was the US involvement in overthrowing of Pahlavi secular regime as well as leftist revolution that immediately followed using Shia sectarians political forces that prompted Soviets to intervene in Afghanistan on an invitation of the legitimate Afghan government just six months after J. Carter national security advisor Z.Brzezinski declared US support for some civil engineer, a citizen of US ally named Bin Laden to lead political and military outfit of radical Islamists, Wahhabi mercenaries tasked with destruction of schools and universities, hospitals and training of Afghan/Pakistani Pashtun tribes as Jihadists and providing military supplies to wage war against Afghan secular government.
In Iran as well as in Afghanistan US always stand on a side of backward, medieval regimes, against human rights and specially against women rights, against freedom of religious affiliation, against political pluralism, against economic development base on sovereign rights to natural resources and against any form of sectarian/ethnic peace, wiping out their imperial boots with a democratic rhetoric when convenient.
Already almost four decades of rhetorical and actual hostility between Iranian theocratic regime and US neocon elite were result of a egotistic catch 22 between US hubris seemingly assaulted by Iran in neocons eyes and Iranian clerics’ anti-American legitimacy of their own rule since both were afraid that without each other as enemy both would lose their purpose and political support.
Of course during that time there were plenty of officially illegal, under the sanctions, US and Europe financial and economic cooperation “under the table” with Tehran regime that spawned massive corruption and profits in the West.
Against everything we have been told by propaganda tubes there is no hatred of Iranian people as well as majority of Iranian government to the US government or Americans and their decadent secular, lifestyle but rather anger that US regime refused to engage into equal partnership with Iran based on principles international law and economic and cultural exchange, not realizing that it is a lot to ask from greatest purveyor of violence in the world as MLK. said.
However, Iranian clerics themselves, holders of true power beneath a façade of democratic institutions, are very apprehensive about opening of the US-Iran relations mostly concerned with retaining of their own legitimacy based on mentality of siege that would be threatened by western commercial “values” already proliferated among young people in Iran as well as in Saudi Arabia, two leading theocratic regimes.
Hence Iranian cleric’s main interests in the Syrian war is to keep status quo, support for Assad and Hezbollah, restrained Turkey, partitioned Kurds and territorial integrity of Iraq under unified Baghdad Shia government ally as well as slow “democratic” reforms in Saudi Arabia giving significant voice to Shia minority but most of all stability of Iran’s own regime that would be under serious threat if US hegemony in the region suddenly falters. Although they recognize that US Emporium is in a welcomed secular decline. Illegitimate regimes of US and Iran both are always looking for new enemies to secure their legitimacy and propose.
Russian motivations and interests in Syria are first of all of strategic, geopolitical nature but also a chance to counter Western aggressive anti-Russian propaganda by presenting Syrian military mission also as humanitarian mission to relieve pain and suffering of the Syrian people under assaults by Western sponsored terrorists. The Russian inspiration for politically risky intervention in Syria have already been reviewed here:
Russians can take a credit though, for successfully organizing an effective coalition of Syria, Kurds, Iraq, Iran and others, and securing diplomatic support from China however, objectives of the coalition members, particularly medium to long-term, are not identical and a major point of contention is the future of US role in the region.
The Russia and Syria is set on a definitive eradication of US belligerence, and ensuing chaos and US provoked wars or political disturbances, by marginalizing the US role in the region, in order to bring environment of lasting political stability, allowing for economic rebuilding efforts in MENA. While Iraq and Iran are opposing a complete elimination of the US interests and are reluctant to accept quick and significant enhancement of influence of Russia and China in the region, seeking geopolitical balance and fearing sudden collapse of Saudi Arabia with all the political consequences of even more extremist or more Asian friendly Riyadh regime taking power and instead prefer slow unwinding of US influence on the region allowing for small changes. In other words all members of Russian coalition want US out of the picture sooner or later in order to create new, old political order in the MENA to rebuild economies devastated by economic embargo and US led aggression.
Having in mind this, as well as a fact that Russia, US and China see Syrian war as a small part of global geopolitical confrontation brewing hotter in last few years, chances for speedy agreement or even slow agreement in Geneva “negotiations” is close to zero since geopolitics will not be discussed there. Also taking into consideration massive military offensive that re-supplied and upgraded by Russians, SAA, tens of thousands strong, newly formed SDU, highly trained and experienced Hezbollah, Iraqi Shia militia and (Sunni) Palestinian military units and highly effective YPG units, all supported by Russian air force and refurbished Syrian air force allowing for precision bombing with bunker busting ammunition, with no real pressures on battlefield, one may expect soon some dramatic events, of direct Turkish or US military intervention against Assad to safe disintegrating ISIL/al-Nusra/FSA forces which at this pace of defeat could be rendered military impotent within next 6-9 months and defeated within 18 months unless unforeseen something happens.
[update]: That’s what happened as I wrote. After Turkey and US, now Saudis are ready to invade Syria:
Will US neocons acknowledge their defeat, which now is a matter of recognition of reality on the ground in Syria or will they trust their imperial hubris and plunge the world into a prelude to WWIII. One way or another Geneva negotiations is a useful charade for all sides, a propaganda ploy to cover up the fact that the global confrontation is on.
An interesting take on recent development in Syria and Geneva:
Russian military adviser “officially” died as a result of injury after ISIL mortar attack.
First significant breakthrough of SAA since Russian intervention, a cut off significant al-Nusra/FSA forces from Turkish supplies. SAA broke a siege of a Shia enclave of al-Zahra surrounded by FSA in North Aleppo area for over four years.
North Aleppo liberated towns:
More progress in East Aleppo, SAA marching on al-Bab and closing east Aleppo caldron.
Geneva negotiations? What negotiations:
South Front: Progress in East/North Aleppo and Turkish border.
TV 2 Syria.
Russian air assault on terrorist’s positions:
Fighting in Homs\Aleppo:
(Warning: 18+) Syrian special forces call upon close air support with deadly consequences.
Daraya anti-tank missile protection installed in old tanks on T72.
Russian bombing of ISIS positions:
Syrian special forces call in Russian air strike, transmit digital coordinates o enemy. And here there is the result in just few minutes.
Battle for Der Ez-Zaur, in two weeks SAA repelled numerous attacks on the military base and the city, after partially taking over ISIL offensive stalled under Russian close air support bombardment. It is probably one of last attempts of ISIL to take battlefield initiative facing catastrophic disruption of supply logistics, oil trade and financial support.
Ankara annexed few miles wide buffer along Syrian border preparing for building fences against Kurd infiltration of Turkey and to create military logistic centers in preparation for invasion of Syria.
Hezbollah fires Russian made ballistic missile against terrorists’ positions.
SAA tank T72 with new antitank missile protection. Terrorist TOW kill rate dropped to 10%.
Tadmor: a stalemate in Palmyra, terrorists dig in the archaeological areas:
Terrorists hit abandoned SAA APCs:
Homs: Five years of war, Note a mosque left almost intact.
Iraq; Fighting in the vicinity of Samara:
Russian wonderweapon capable of defeating the US imperial power and steal some hearts: cute warning!!