TEHRAN - The professor and director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar says, “The Syrian army has stayed largely loyal to Bashar Assad.”
In an interview with the Tehran Times, Mehran Kamrava also said Syria is an important strategic ally for both Iran and Russia but “I assume both the Iranian and Russian governments have devised strategies aimed at making sure their long-term strategic interested are guaranteed no matter what would happen in Syria.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: What are the West’s future scenarios for Syria after a possible attack on the country?
A: This would depend on the extent of the attack and how the Syrian regime decides to respond. At this point, the key to the survival of the Syrian regime is the Syrian army. So far, the Syrian army has stayed largely loyal to Bashar Assad. If the army suffers so much that its commanders decide to abandon Assad, then the future of the Syrian regime is not certain. But if the army commanders stay loyal, then the regime will be weakened but is likely to stay in power.
Q: Why the U.S. has announced it would launch a “limited war” on Syria?
A: This is in response to popular opinion in the U.S., which does not welcome another extensive engagement of U.S. troops as in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Q: Do you think that a “limited war” would be the beginning of a full scale war in Syria?
A: I think this is difficult to predict. The Obama administration has recently indicated that the attack on Syria may not be so limited after all. And Syria has been in a state of war anyway, so insofar as full-scale war is concerned, the conditions on the ground in Syria are not likely to change that much anyway.
Q: What would be the consequences for Russia and Iran if the Syrian government is overthrown and a pro-Western regime takes power in Damascus?
A: For both Iran and Russia, Syria is an important strategic ally. However, I assume both the Iranian and Russian governments have devised strategies aimed at making sure their long-term strategic interested are guaranteed no matter what would happen in Syria.