Dienstag, 28. Dezember 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen IX


Eine spannende Depesche, die sich hauptsächlich mit den bilateralen Beziehungen zwischen Syrien und dem Iran befasst. Schauen wir uns erstmal die Zusammenfassung an und im Anschluss diverse Aspekte des Berichts:

The successive visits of three high-level Iranian officials to Damascus in early December appear at first glance to reaffirm strong Iranian-Syrian security ties and other forms of bilateral cooperation, but they may, in fact, mask deepening rifts over Iraq, Yemen, and the possibility of war with Israel. Syrian observers suggest the a shifting balance of power between Iran and Syria. The Iranian government, challenged domestically by anti-regime protests and abroad by building pressure over its nuclear program, has sought Syria’s help just when Syria has begun to enjoy other strategic options, such as its relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Asad’s government proved willing to host the visits, sign a defense MOU, and allow Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal to visit Tehran, all the while continuing close cooperation with Iranian security services and Hizballah operatives. But Asad reportedly resisted Iranian arguments for closer bilateral coordination in Iraq and Yemen and flatly rejected being drawn into a war between Iran and Israel.

Man könnte demzufolge sagen, die so oft befürchteten und heraufbeschworenen engen Verbindungen zwischen Syrien und Iran bestehen nicht in diesem Maße, aber Syrien hat inzwischen einen gewissen Spielraum bei der Auswahl seiner strategischen Partner, was eine gewisse Eigenständigkeit erlaubt. Man muss weder dem Iran noch den Amis die Füße küssen, denn immer wenn der eine Partner Mucken macht, kann man damit drohen, sich ab- und dem anderen zuzuwenden. Keine unkomfortable Position.

Taken collectively, the Iranian visits over eight days were meant to dispel doubts that Syria would or could abandon its ties to Iran [...].

Ein Selbst- oder Fremdversicherungsschauspiel?

“Iran provides us diplomatic cover as well as the military might to back up our demands for peace,” argued XXXXXXXXXXXX. “In return, we’re providing Iran support when the West is pressuring Iran on its nuclear program,”

So sieht er laut XXX aus, der Tauschhandel. Fragt sich nur, wer XXX ist. Da zum Schutze der Person ausgepiept, vermutlich entweder ein bei den Syrern eingeschmuggelter Amerikaner oder ein Syrer, der gerne bei den Amis aus dem Nähkästchen plaudert.

According to XXXXXXXXXXXX Iran, not Syria, sought the visits as a sign of Syrian reassurance. “Be assured,” commented XXXXXXXXXXXX “they needed these visits far more than we did.”

The Syrian government, said XXXXXXXXXXXX, perceived a note of panic in the Iranian requests and some were saying Syria’s renewed relations with Saudi Arabia, its deepening ties to Turkey, and even Washington’s desire to re-engage Syria had made Iran “jealous.”

Also eher ein Fremdversicherungsschauspiel, um iranische Gemüter zu beruhigen.

While the Syrian government responded positively to Iranian requests for public statements of support on the nuclear issue and against Israel, it remained silent after the Iranian Minister of Defense’s arrival statement denounced Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Klar, Rhetorik gegen Israel gibt's immer geschenkt, aber sich den Iranern zuliebe mit anderen regionalen Großmächten oder gar den USA anlegen, ne, das dann noch nicht.

“They (the Iranians) basically asked us to focus on co-opting Shia politicians and to drop our support for the Sunnis and former Baathists,” arguing that the center of gravity in Iraq lies with the Shia. On this issue XXXXXXXXXXXX reported, Syrian officials expressed great reluctance and continued to insist on the reintegration of former Iraqi Baathists into the political system.

Da müsste der Iran aber schon einiges im Gegenzug anbieten, damit Syrien für ihn die Schiiten im Irak unterstützt. Das Assad-Regime verhält sich in religiösen Dingen eigentlich meist vorsichtig, Assad selbst als Angehöriger der Alewiten, einer muslimischen Randgruppe, die selbst nicht mal von allen Muslimen anerkannt wird, will sicher keine Auseinandersetzung über seine Legitimität auf religiöser Basis führen.

On Yemen, Vahidi’s public remarks rebuking Saudi Arabia for interfering in its neighbor’s affairs drew sharp criticism from Syrian officials during the Iranian Defense Minister’s meetings XXXXXXXXXXXX Vahidi was clearly trying to drive a wedge between Damascus and Riyadh, but “it didn’t work,” he said.

More significantly, Syria reportedly resisted Iranian entreaties to commit to joining Iran if fighting broke out between Iran and Israel or Hizballah and Israel. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Iranian officials were in Syria “to round up allies” in anticipation of an Israeli military strike.

Da will der Iran aber schon eine ganze Menge, Syrien soll rhetorisch die gleiche Linie fahren, die Schiiten im Irak unterstützen, es sich mit Saudi-Arabien verscherzen und dann Seit an Seit mit dem Iran gegen Israel kämpfen. Ich frage mich wirklich, was die im Angebot hatten, um das durchzukriegen, oder dachten sie, Syrien läge ihnen zu Füßen?

"Then we expect an Iranian response. At that point, we, Turkey, and Qatar will spring into action to begin moderating a ceasefire and then a longer-term solution involving both countries’ nuclear programs. That’s the best scenario. All the others are bad for us and the region,” summed up XXXXXXXXXXXX.

Das klingt tatsächlich wie eine vernünftigere Herangehensweise. Dass im tatsächlichen Krieg mit Israel für ein militärisch vergleichsweise bescheiden ausgestattetes Land kein Blumentopf zu holen ist, ist klar, und man kann nur hoffen und beten, dass Iran und Israel sich nicht an die Gurgel gehen.

“We would hope the U.S. would recognize our diplomatic efforts to resolve a regional crisis and give us some credit for playing a positive role.”

Sie sind es leid, die Syrer, auf der *schwarzen Liste* der Amis zu stehen. Aber mal eben so bekommt man deren Vertrauen nun nicht geschenkt, vor allem nicht, wenn man nebenher die Hizbollah aufrüstet.

Es folgt eine Einschätzung der syrischen Absichten, die interessant ist, auch wenn sie zu dem Schluss kommt, dass man eigentlich nicht so recht wissen kann, was die Syrer nun tatsächlich vorhaben.

Many Syrian and some diplomatic observers believe Syria is in the process of re-calibrating its relations with Iran and is seeking to avoid choices that would constrain the country’s flexibility as it faces an uncertain regional setting. Does, however, Syria’s instinct for self-survival and desire for less dependence on Iran represent anything other than a shift of emphasis as long as Damascus insists on maintaining its military relations with Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas? Some analysts here argue that Syria’s improved relations with Turkey, France, and Saudi Arabia afford Damascus a greater range of choices in dealing with the West, the Arab world, Israel, and Iran. This school asserts that better ties with the U.S. would further increase Syria’s range of options and its potential to move farther away from Iran. Even if Damascus and Tehran maintained some semblance of their political-military relationship, the extent of their ties would be constrained by Syria’s competing equities in deepening relations with others, including the U.S. Others argue that a wider range of options would only perpetuate Syria’s decision-averse orientation; if the Iranians can’t pin down Syria on matters of war and peace, then what chance would the United States have? Syria could pocket openings offered by Washington and simply use our gestures to play rivals off one another. At the end of the day, it may be impossible to assess Syria’s intentions with any confidence until the regional context becomes clearer. In the meantime, the U.S. should take a modicum of quiet satisfaction that Syria is showing signs of wanting to moderate Iran’s influence in its affairs, even though expecting the relationship to end altogether remains unrealistic. If Syria’s improved relations with France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey can initiate cracks in the Syrian-Iranian axis, then perhaps discrete U.S.-Syrian cooperation could add further stress to these fault lines. A willingness to offer concrete deliverables as evidence of a U.S. desire for improved relations would force Syrian officials to calculate how far they would go in response, providing us with a more accurate measure of their intentions. At a minimum, increased Washington interest in Syria would increase Tehran’s anxiety level and perhaps compound Syrian-Iranian tensions, at a time when Syrian officials themselves may be unsure how they will react to unfolding events.

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