United States involvement in Syria has nothing to do with a repressive regime. After all, in 2002 the United States willingly used Assad’s regime to torture Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, when they renditioned him to Syria from New York. The world was also quite grateful to Syria for accepting 1.5 million refugees created by the US invasion of Iraq, especially considering that for approximately the same period the United States had only accepted 7,000 Iraqi refugees. What’s happening in Syria is part of a bigger picture, a grand chessboard if you’d like, and what’s happening there is definitely not the end game.
Irrelevant if Assad stays in power or the rebels take control, what’s important to know about Syria is that an attack on Syria is an attack on Iran and a threat to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – a mutual security organization founded in 2001, which “includes not only the two giants Russia and China, but also the energy-rich Central Asian states Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.”
In 2006 Syria signed a defense agreement with Iran. With this agreement Iran “considers Syria’s security its own security,” and its defense capabilities to be those of Syria. This means that an attack on Syria is an attack on Iran, and Iran is a much more formidable foe than Syria. Not because of Iran’s military capabilities but because of its diplomatic ties to the regional countries.
Not only has Iran signed a declaration with Caspian Sea leaders in which all parties have agreed “to reinforce peace, stability, economic development, and good neighborliness in the region,” Iran is also an observer state in the SCO.
If the United States attacks Syria, which it has threatened to do, it will force it into a military confrontation with Iran. If this occurs, it is very unlikely that the SCO, especially the two most influential members Russia and energy strapped China, will stand idly by.
Direct Western intervention in Syria or a war with Iran will be catastrophes on their own, but they could also trigger a confrontation between NATO and the SCO. Not a good scenario any way you look at it.