Iran-Syria Alliance Grows Stronger

According to a report in today’s Washington Post, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have pledged to create a Middle East “without Zionists” and jointly criticized U.S. policy in the region.

As the West is trying to gain support for targeted sanctions against the Islamic Republic as they continue their uranium enrichment program, Tehran has been trying to get increased support from its allies, which include Bolivia and Venezuela in South America, and Syria in the Middle East region.

In an attempt to weaken the Iran-Syria relationship, Washington announced recently that it will send Ambassador Robert Ford to Damascus after a five-year absence after Washington pulled its representative in protest over the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The message delivered by the two heads of state during the joint news conference Thursday, however, showed the Iran-Syria alliance grow despite Washington’s efforts. The statement also seemed to show that any real progress toward an Israel-Syria peace agreement was still unlikely.

The U.S wants “to dominate the region, but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that,” Ahmadinejad said during the joint news conference. “We tell them that instead of interfering in the region’s affairs, to pack their things and leave.” According to the report by the Post, Ahmadinejad went on to speak about Israel’s eventual “demise and annihilation,” saying the region could create a future “without Zionists and without colonialists.”

According to the Post, Assad also criticized what he regarded as the United States’ “new situation of colonialism” in the region. He pointed out the presence of U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and pressure on Syria to split from Iran—a friendship Assad emphasized remained strong despite Syria’s declining economy.

As for Israel, that country’s officials say they still think a deal with Syria is possible, but less so if President Obama fails with Iran.

“The question is, where is Syria going to locate itself?” Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was quoted by the Post as saying. The alliance with Iran, he said, “gives them less reason to be pragmatic.”

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