The historical significance of Bashar al-Assad
The situation in Syria is getting worse every day. However, in essence, the outcome of the Syrian civil war is already predetermined.
Practically from the very beginning of the Syrian war (when the positions of the main parties and the configuration of external forces became clear), all knowledgeable experts bet on the victory of the regime in Damascus, or rather those behind the Assad, Iranians. When the factor of the terrorist group IG banned in Russia intervened in the war, then, despite local militant military victories, Assad’s overall victory became even more predictable.
That's because the main sponsor of the Syrian opposition, the Obama Administration, is in an extremely difficult situation. Apparently, the White House has already realized that the threat posed by the IG is much more significant than from the pro-Iranian regime of Bashar Assad. In this situation, it would be logical to support official Damascus in the fight against IS, however, the United States for political reasons cannot afford such a sharp turn in foreign policy, especially during the primaries. Therefore, the White House continues to reiterate that "Assad must leave" and support the handshake, but at the same time the most unpromising force in the Syrian space is the military units of the secular opposition, which are called collectively the "Syrian Free Army." It is obvious to everyone that whoever wins in Syria - Assad or the Islamists - will be in the camp of the losers. Either right away (the victorious Islamists will destroy them or drive them out of the country), or in a step (any political compromise between Bashar Asad and the opposition in the deal to end the civil war will be extremely short, and in the end the stronger will push the weak from the levers of ruling the country).
Of course, the US line will continue to fluctuate. So, analysts warn that strengthening cooperation with Turkey on Syria may lead to a shift in the focus of American policy from fighting the IG back to attempts to overthrow the Bashar Assad regime, as well as the fight against the Kurds. It's no secret that Turkish strikes on Syria harm not so much the IG, as the Kurds fighting against them. The Turks do not want to allow both the expulsion of IS from the northern Syrian provinces and the control of this territory by the Syrian Kurds (who are close allies of the Turkish Kurds and the PKK).
However, this hesitation can be offset by the determination and ability of those external players who support the Syrian government. Thus, Ayatollah Khamenei has already said that, despite the nuclear deal with the United States, Iran "will continue to assist its regional allies in Syria and Iraq and protect the oppressed peoples of Bahrain, Yemen and Palestine." That is, to create, expand and maintain its zone of influence in the Middle East. And Syria is of key importance here - its loss will lead to the automatic loss of the Levant and the creation of a sanitary cordon along the western border of Iran and its part of Iraq, which will stretch from Azerbaijan to Kuwait. That is why Iran is making every effort to prevent either Islamists or pro-American, pro-Turkish or pro-Saudi forces from coming to power in Syria. And now, experts agree that the Iranian deal will allow Tehran to allocate more financial and material resources to support the Syrian authorities. In addition, the conclusion of a deal on the Iranian nuclear program will reduce the importance of Ankara in the Tehran scenario. Until recently, Iran could not quarrel with Turkey, if only because Iran was smuggling through Turkish territory, allowing the Iranians to bypass sanctions.
Moscow fully supports the Iranian position on Syria. “Our states have a common position on resolving the Syrian crisis,” Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. “The Syrians must decide their own destiny, their future, and foreign states should only facilitate this.” At the same time, Russian support is not limited to the moral and diplomatic aspect. Thus, according to the Turkish media, Russia has already transferred to the Damascus MiG-31 aircraft, and also supplies other weapons throughout the course of the civil war.
Today, the Russian-Iranian position is definitely winning. The West, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have in fact already admitted their defeat in the war against Damascus. Judging by the majority of publications of the Western media, Iran and Russia are only asked to agree to "save the face" of Damascus opponents - that is, the resignation of President Bashar Al-Assad and replace him with some other representative of the current regime.
However, the big question is whether Moscow and Tehran should make such concessions. And the point here is not even a fundamental reluctance to alleviate the fate of the "Western partners", which have caused so much damage to both Iran and Russia. For all its minuses and pluses, President Bashar al-Assad now has great ideological significance, even, to some extent, historical. If the West is pushing his resignation, then to some extent he will be convinced of his abilities to remove by force the leaders of objectionable countries that are objectionable to him. After all, it is far from a secret that the United States and the EU would also like to remove the Russian leader, as well as the Iranian Supreme Ayatollah. If Assad remains, then some in the West may realize that their policy of changing the regime or even changing the sign of the regime is ineffective. And then the US and the EU will be forced to move to less dangerous and strategic forms of changing unwanted regimes - supporting their evolution through the growth of the middle class, friendly policies (extremely complicating the introduction of anti-Americanism in the minds of the population), strengthening economic interdependence, as well as other tools that contribute to improving the world, not destabilizing it.