Situation Assessment 01 February, 2012

The Syrian Revolution within the Turkish-Iranian Matrix: Current predicament and prospects

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Ali Husain Bakir

Ali Hussein Bakir is a Jordanian researcher specialized in international relations. He currently works for the International Strategic Research Organization “ISRO-USAK” (Turkey). He worked as an economic editor and researcher at Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group AIWA (Lebanon) and was a research associate at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (Qatar) and the Geo-Strategic Group for Studies. Bakir has many publications in a number of other prominent Arab think tanks such as the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, the Gulf Research Centre, the Middle East Studies Centre, the Shebaa Centre for Strategic Studies, Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre, and The Arab Centre for the Humanities. Since 2007, Bakir has authored and co-authored various number of publications and books on Turkey, Iran, Arabian Gulf, and China. His numerous articles, reports and research papers have been published by a number of Arab research centers, as well as in about forty newspapers and magazines. Many of his articles and papers have been translated into Turkish, Persian, English, French, Japanese and Urdo. His publications are available on the following link: www.alibakeer.maktoobblog.com Bakir is currently a PhD candidate and has achieved distinction in pre-doctoral assessments. He completed his master’s degree with distinction in Political Science, holds a high diploma in Diplomatic and International Relations from Beirut Arab University and has received his BA with distinction from the Lebanese University in Political and Administrative Science.

The Syrian popular revolt took all concerned international players by surprise, including Iran and Turkey as well as the Syrian regime itself. As far as the Syrian President Bashar al Assad was concerned, Syria was an exceptional case, as its position of resistance to Israel and foreign hegemony meant that it would be insulated from public discontent, and its people would not rebel against their government. As he stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on January 31, 2011, the regime and its politics were "close to the people", thus ensuring that there would be no protests within Syria.

Yet the Syrian people did eventually rise up against their government, and constituting a turning point for the governments in both Turkey and Iran, and brought to the forefront the discord between their regional agendas . The reactions of these two countries towards and towards each other, have served to corroborate an oft-quoted statement: that the idea of Turkey joining Iran, Hizbullah and Syria in a single camp is simply a smokescreen for another reality: that of the other parties containing Turkey's growing influence in the region, and putting a stop to how Turkey can be used to counter Iranian influence as well as Israeli intransigence. The pace of progress has set such ambitions aside, showing them to be mere "fantasies", and placed Turkey and Iran on opposite ends of a conflict, and have heightened tensions between both sides: the future of the Syrian regime will be a decisive factor in determining how this conflict unfolds, with the ultimate fate of the Syrian regime likely to impinge negatively on one or the other of the two sides (being Turkey and Iran).

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