Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran known best for his bloody past as a hanging judge, responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranian dissidents, recently spoke by telephone to the Butcher of Damascus, President Bashar Al-Assad. More on the conversation can be found here: “Global Winds Blowing Away from ‘Arrogance, Zionism,’ Raisi Tells Assad,” i24 News, April 9, 2023:
The international balance of power is changing in favor of “the axis of resistance” and to the detriment of “global arrogance and Zionism,” the Iranian president told his Syrian counterpart in a phone call, local media reported.
Ebrahim Raisi took aim at the United States and Israel, the respective “Great Satan” and “Little Satan” of Iran’s Islamist ideology, as he caught up with Bashar Al-Assad, whose regime in Damascus is a proxy of Tehran.
The Iranians are well aware that while their military aid to Syria played an important role in Al-Assad’s ultimate victory, Al-Assad no longer has need of that miliary aid. Syria is being wooed back into the fold of the Arab states, several of which, including the UAE, Jordan, and Egypt, have sent emissaries to Damascus in recent months, while Al-Assad has visited both the UAE and Oman. Saudi Arabia is on the verge of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Syria. The Syrians no longer need Iranian military support; they need money, and lots of it. But the impoverished regime in Tehran cannot possibly provide Al-Assad with the kind of financial help he will need if he is to reconstruct his devastated country. Estimates of the amount of money it would take simply to put Syria back in the condition it was in in 2011, just before the civil war started, are upwards of $400 billion. The only countries that have that kind of money to spend are the rich Arab oil-and-gas states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar. Iran, on the other hand, has an economy that is in free fall, with the Iranian riyal having lost 95% of its value in the last three years, and Tehran can contribute nothing to Syria’s reconstruction.
Raisi adduced the alleged “crimes of the Zionist regime” as further evidence of its impending collapse, adding that Iran will “take revenge on the Zionist regime” for its bombardments of targets in Syria.
The “crimes of the Zionist regime,” as far as Raisi is concerned, are the IAF’s bombing of Iranian and Hezbollah bases inside Syria, with devastating results, including a flurry of attacks in early April on two military airbases in the Homs governorate, an attack on the Aleppo airport, and the killing of four high-ranking IRGC members. Iran’s response was to threaten a terrible vengeance, but to do nothing.
Israeli planes keep destroying both storehouses of weapons brought to Syria from Iran, for transfer to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and weapons manufacturing facilities inside Syria, where Iranians are producing precision-guided missiles, also for delivery to Hezbollah. How Israel’s extraordinarily successful campaign of aerial bombing – with hundreds of targets hit all over Syria – could be adduced as evidence of the Jewish state’s “impending collapse” is impossible to fathom.
Israel has conducted numerous aerial raids in Syria, typically targeting Iran-aligned terrorists and weapon convoys bound for Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based proxy of Iran and an antisemitic terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction.
Also on Sunday, Raisi spoke to his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune, stating that “Today, more than ever, the necessity of cooperation and forming a united front of Islamic countries against the Zionist regime and in firm support of the Palestinian nation is felt.”
While Raisi speaks to Algerian President Abdel Madjid Tebboune about the “necessity of cooperation” among all the Islamic states, to form a united front against “the Zionist regime,” Tebboune replied that he hoped “with the cooperation of Islamic countries to free the Palestinian nation from the oppression of the Zionists.” But Algeria is itself an obstacle to Islamic unity in North Africa. Algeria.has been making intermittent war on Morocco for years, in an attempt to prevent Rabat from incorporating the Western Sahara into its domain. It is now involved in another dispute with Morocco, this time over a gas pipeline running from Nigeria to the Mediterranean; Morocco has signed an agreement with Lagos which would have the pipeline end in Morocco; this has enraged the Algerians. Algeria, no matter who runs it, is not about to form a “united front” with its rival Morocco on any matter; Morocco is not about to lessen its profitable trade and security relations with Israel, a product of its membership in the Abrahamic Accords. And Algeria has also been meddling in the affairs of its eastern neighbor, Tunisia, where it was recently denounced by Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, the leader of the National Salvation Front, the largest opposition bloc formed against President Kais Saied. Chebbi warned of an “imminent collapse” threatening the country amid a “deteriorating economic and social situation,” and called on Algeria not to interfere in Tunisia’s internal affairs.
Raisi looks forward to an Islamic world that will unite to make war on the Jewish state and destroy it. But the four Arab countries that are members of the Abraham Accords have not pulled out of those accords that bind them closer to the Jewish state, despite their unhappiness over the scenes of Israeli police using batons against rioters inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. There are signs that the war in Yemen may finally end, once Saudi Arabia and Iran put pressure on their respective proxies in that war-torn impoverished country to end hostilities. Raisi, like so many Iranian officials, keeps forgetting that the Sunni states will always regard Shi’a Iran with deep suspicion; the Sunni-Shi’a split goes back to the first century of Islam, and today the Shi’a continue to be persecuted by the majority Sunnis in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Worldwide, the Shi’a constitute only 10-15% of the world’s Muslims. Ebrahim Raisi refuses to recognize this reality. When, and if, the Israelis attack the Islamic Republic, as they likely will have to do so, given how far along the Iranians are in being able to manufacture nuclear weapons, and they will have to go it alone, it seems, given that the Biden administration has shown it is not prepared to act militarily, does anyone doubt that among the Sunni states of the Gulf there will be not rage, but much mafficking that the Shi’a, those “Rafidite dogs,” as some uber-Sunnis call them, have had the stuffing knocked out of them, and their pretensions to dominating the Middle East through the creation of a “Shi’a crescent” will, after Israel is done with them, lie in smoldering ruins?