Syria Shakes The Geopolitical Landscape

A single vote has shifted the dynamics of the global power structure. At least, it appears so for the moment.

Severin Weiland writes in Der Spiegel that the failure of British Prime Minister to gain approval for acting against Syria was a historical decision that has changed the US-British relationship.

“What happened on Thursday in London was a historical decision. When it came to military deployments, the US and Britain were extremely reliable partners over at least the past two decades. Be it the first or second Iraq war or in Afghanistan, the two countries always fought at each other’s side. Even when France and Britain rushed ahead into an air war against Libya and Washington’s position appeared to be wavering, Obama ultimately joined the mission,” he notes.

That sentiment was echoed by Roger Cohen in The New York Times, who argues the “special relationship” between the two nations is no longer.

“When Britain opts for the sidelines with Germany, leaving an American president to look to France and Turkey for support in holding Bashar al-Assad accountable for breaking the world’s taboo on chemical weapons, there is little or nothing special left. Rather than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its ally, Britain has turned its back.”

On the other hand, France has stepped into the role of supporting the US. In the Middle East, the region which Barack Obama had hoped to forge a new relationship, skepticism is the order of the day.

Britain’s stance was somewhat unexpected, while Iran’s position is somewhat uncertain. Facing the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is his first real test and a test of how far the hardliners will push the “moderate” leader.

“The new government does not want to add fuel to the fire of its international problems by adopting radical strategies. However, launching military attacks on Syria will sharpen the teeth of hardliners in the country and weaken the moderate policies of the newly-established government,” reports Mohsen Asgari of BBC News.

Meir Javedanfar of Al-Monitor believes Iran will act more prudently and do what it can to avoid becoming embroiled in a broader war.

“These are important reasons why, in case of a military attack by the United States against Syria, there is little chance that Iran will become directly involved. This is despite Iran stating that it would consider such an attack as crossing its “red line.”

There are also historical reasons which back the theory that Iran is likely  to stay away. Despite several reported attacks by the Israeli air force against Assad’s  military and in one case nuclear installations, Iran never became involved  in a war against Israel to defend Assad,” argues Javedanfar.



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