Iran reaching out to US on post-Assad set-up? - ME1 and ME1386

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Date 2011-12-13 16:02:19
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Reva's note - this is extremely interesting, especially the bolded part below. DOes Iran really think it can convince the US to collaborate with them on regime change in SYria in such a way that will end up in Iran's favor? the whole point of the US focusing in on Syria is to contain Iran in the first place. This sounds like the Iranians are getting to be in an increasingly desperate position. Always be wary of source bias, but why would a HZ source want to spread info on the weakness of the Syrian regime and the lack of options for Iran? I do believe the part about Iran preferring a palace coup over the Turkish strategy of building up an opposition via FSA.

SOURCE: ME1 and ME1386
ATTRIBUTION: STRATFOR source
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: ME1 and member of Hamas politburo
PUBLICATION: Yes - worth a tactical analysis
SOURCE RELIABILITY: B-C
ITEM CREDIBILITY: B-C
SPECIAL HANDLING: Alpha
SOURCE HANDLER: Reva

Marhaba Reva,
I strongly believe that Asad's regime will fall in 2012. The conventional wisdom that Asad will survive, because both Iran and Israel view him with favor, is a thing of the past. The situation in Syria has reached the point of no return. It is true than nine months of demonstrations have not brought down the regime but, by the same token, regime brutality and heavy handedness have not quelled the uprising. If anything, the level of hostilities and army defections is on the rise.

The breaking point will come when the military establishment realizes that Asad must go. There are signs that the military establishment is beginning to disintegrate. I talked to [ME1386] and he told me that Alawite officers and enlisted men are beginning to join the ranks of the FSA. This represents a major development. Alawite officers are divided since many of them are unhappy about the use of excessive force against Sunni protesters. Alawite officers are aware that Asad is trying to find an asylum for himself and his family should his regime become unslavageable. This is upsetting many Alawites who are coming to realize that Asad will abandon them. If so, they reason that it would be suicidal to continue to win the wrath of the Sunnis. Walid al-Muallim offered to resign but Asad turned down his request. This is a clear indicator that many of Asad's men are realizing that they are putting a vain fight against the burgeoning uprising.

The Iranians are weighing in the situation in Syria very carefully. One must read beyond the public statements of the Iranians, especially ayatollah Khamenei. Both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have concluded that Asad's regime cannot be rescued. It is perfectly understood that the regime in Damascus will fall along lines similar to the Libyan model. There will have to be a coup in Damascus, be it a military or political one.

One must not dismiss the pragmatism of Khamenei. Iran appears to be willing to use its influence in Syria to stage a coup, provided that it is able to ensure that the new leadership will continue to pursue excellent relations with Tehran. The Iranians have approached the Americans on this. In the past, Iran collaborated with the U.S. on the ouster of Saddam Hussein and Iran won big in Iraq. The Iranians would not mind working again on ousting Asad if they can secure good results in Syria. Syria's contiguity to Iraq allows Iran to play a direct role in the affairs of Damascus.

The Iranians feel they need to act on Syria soon because the Turks have their own plans for Syria and are not coordinating with the Iranians. He says the Turks are moving slowly but systematically. Iran does not want to allow Turkey to take over Syria. Whereas the Turks are coordinating with the Brotherhood and the FSA, the Iranians prefer a palace coup in damascus in order to maintain their ties with Asad's successors. What is delaying action in Syria is the fact that the U.S. has not yet decided on the shape of the post-Asad political system. Nevertheless, he insists that Asad's regime will fall, although the future of Syria after the regime change remains nebulous.

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