Smoke rises from Israel-Syria border
Smoke rises from Israel-Syria border Reuters

The head of a think tank in Dubai says Syria’s civil war has become a fight for Iran’s survival and rulership in the Middle East.

Mustafa Alani, director of security and defense at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Council, explained in a report published by The Washington Post on Wednesday that the Syrian government’s chief backer, Iran, is the most responsible for its survival in the savage civil war that began in March 2011.

President Bashar al-Assad is facing two major factions: the mostly secular Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the fundamentalist Islamist Front for the Liberation of Syria, most of whose member factions are terrorists aligned with Al Qaeda.

But Assad’s forces are slowly recapturing ground that was seized by rebels in previous weeks with the aid of forces from the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and guerrilla fighters from the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization, also a protégé of Iran.

As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to host a White House meeting of top national security aides Wednesday to review options in light of the rebels’ recent setbacks, Alani told the Post, "This is an Iranian fight. It is no longer a Syrian one.

"The issue is hegemony in the region. If Iran wins this conflict and the Syrian regime survives, Iran’s interventionist policy will become wider and its credibility will be enhanced."

Nearly 100,000 Syrians have died in the war, and millions have been left homeless, with many of the nation’s towns and villages bombed into rubble. More than a million Syrians have fled the country, and are now living in refugee camps in neighboring Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. A few have managed to make it as far as Egypt.