Targeting Iran’s Regime Will Strengthen, Not Break, the Moscow-Tehran Allianceby Mark N. Katz
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on February 13, hawkish scholar Michael Ledeen argued that “dismantling the Khamenei regime as peacefully as possible” is the best way to end what he describes as the Russian-Iranian alliance. His argument, though, contained several questionable assertions that cast doubt on the feasibility of his policy recommendations.
Early on in the article, Ledeen notes that before Russia intervened in Syria in September 2015, the survival of the Assad regime was seriously threatened despite receiving military assistance from Iran. But his assurance that “[w]ithout Russian bombers and special forces, Iran would face defeat, as would Mr. Assad” is not necessarily true. Now that Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah (as well as other Shi’a militia forces) have inflicted severe losses on the opposition to Assad, Iran and its Shi’a allies could likely defend Assad even if Russian forces withdrew. Further, with Saudi Arabia now preoccupied with the conflict in Yemen and Turkey focused on suppressing the Kurds in both Turkey and Syria, it is not clear that these two countries would be willing or able to support the Syrian opposition to the point where it could threaten the Assad regime as it did just prior to the Russian intervention. http://lobelog.com/targeting-irans-regime-will-strengthen-not-break-the-moscow-tehran-alliance/#more-38053