Saudi-Israeli propaganda against Iran and Syria fails

November 17, 2021 - 20:40

TEHRAN— Last week, Al Arabiya, a Saudi TV channel, said that Iran’s advisor in Syria, Brigadier General Mustafa Javad Ghaffari, has been expelled from Syria, following a dispute with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Why did the Saudi-Israeli plot surfaced at such complicated time? The Tehran Times explores why.

Last week, the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper claimed that it has seen a Jordanian-drafted document outlining a quid pro quo process under which Arab states would normalize ties with Syria in exchange for concessions from the war-torn country.

The Arab Normalization Document lays out a step-by-step process that would begin with “reducing Iran’s influence in certain parts of Syria,” according to the Saudi newspaper.

The Saudis seized the opportunity to undermine Iran’s role in Syria by portraying that Tehran-Damascus relations have hit a dead-end in order to bring Syria to the so-called Arab fold. 

On the contrary, Iran has welcomed normalization of relations between Damascus and other Arab capitals. But this Iranian openness seems to have fallen on deaf ears in Saudi Arabia and its regional allies.

But what is the truth behind Javad Ghaffari’s return to Iran?

In response to a question about the commander of Iran's advisory group in Syria and some articles published in the Zionist and Saudi media outlets in this regard, Saeed Khatibzadeh, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on November 15 that such news coverage by the Zionist media are not new. 

“Iran-Syria relations at different levels have a very wide depth and scope and are pursued at strategic levels,” he added. 

The diplomat stated that the brigadier general’s mission in Syria was terminated. He added, “Incidentally, the commander of the Iranian advisory group in Syria was honored by the Syrian Minister of Defense at the end of his successful mission in Syria and received a medal from him.”

Khatibzadeh continued by saying that everyone is aware of the level of the relations between Iran and Syria.

Syria has been one of the most important actors in the Arab world, the spokesman said. 

He elaborated by saying that it is gratifying that the countries which secretly sought to normalize ties with Syria, have now acknowledged the realities on the ground and they seek to normalize their relations with Syria openly. 

“This is in the interest of all the nations of the region. Iran not only welcomes this process, but also makes every effort to accelerate it for the Arab and Syrian countries to resume their relations,” Khatibzadeh noted.

Syrian officials deny Al-Arabiya's claim regarding Iranian commander 

Informed sources and political figures in Syria and Iran, in interviews with the Tasnim News Agency, denied the recent claim by Al-Arabiya that there is a dispute between Iran and Syria, and explained why the network made such a claim at this juncture.

An informed source in Syria denied the claims of the Saudi media, including Al-Arabiya, about what was called the "expulsion" of one of the commanders of the IRGC from Syria, who was on an advisory mission in the Arab state.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, in an interview with a Tasnim correspondent in Damascus on November 14 denied the claim that President Assad and other senior Syrian officials had expelled Ghaffari.

The source said Al-Arabiya's claim that the Syrian president is “not content with Ghaffari's actions” is not true, and that Gen. Ghaffari had a good performance in Syria, both in giving military advice and providing humanitarian aid. 

“Mr. Ghaffari has not created a rift between himself and any of Syria's political leaders and military commanders, or between himself and a group in another country,” he stressed.

What is Riyadh's purpose in making such claims?

However, the informed source told Tasnim, “Al-Arabiya's purpose in making such claims is to say that there are differences between Iran and Syria in order to justify halting its attacks on Bashar Assad. In particular, this is due to the positive developments regarding the positions of the Persian Gulf Arab states on Syria.”

Recently, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed traveled to Damascus to meet with the Syrian President. Observers and analysts say Abu Dhabi has taken on the mission of returning Syria to the Arab League and normalizing relations between Damascus and other Arab capitals.

According to Syrian experts, the reason behind Al Arabiya's move is that Saudi Arabia has made the Al Arabiya network as a ladder in the case of normalization to come down from its anti-Syria position and is trying to justify its steps for getting closer to Syria and make a positive change in its policies towards Damascus. 

These experts are also on the belief that the Saudis also pretend that this policy was formed after the alleged differences between Syria and Iran.

In an interview with Tasnim, Ahmed Jamil Ibrahim, a former Syrian army brigadier general and a member of the Syrian Parliament's National Security Committee, said that Al-Arabiya's claim was not worth reacting to.

“Al-Arabiya's claim is just one new example of biased news that the world has become accustomed to,” Jamil Ibrahim said.

At the same time, one of Iran's leading ambassadors to the region also denied Al-Arabiya's claim and said that the news was not true and was fundamentally false.

Seyyed Hadi Afqahi, a former Iranian diplomat, confirmed the remarks of an informed Syrian source in this regard, saying that Gen. Ghaffari, prior to completing his mission in Syria, had been honored in the best possible way not only from the Syrian military and security institutions but also by President Assad. 

The Saudi-Israeli-Emirati plot to detach Syria from one of its most important and loyal friends failed.

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