Iran increasing role in Syrian crackdown

Iran is apparently increasing its assistance to the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria, including sending in its elite Quds Force to help with the crackdown.

Washington Post:

The influx of Iranian manpower is adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran that includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, the sources said. Iranian-assisted computer surveillance is believed to have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks.

The United States and its allies long have accused Iran of supporting repressive or violent regimes in the region, including Syria's government, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Many previous reports, mostly provided by Western officials, have described Iranian technical help in providing Syria with riot helmets, batons and other implements of crowd control during 10 weeks of demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad.

The new assertions - provided by two U.S. officials and a diplomat from an allied nation, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence - are clearly aimed at suggesting deepening involvement of Iranian military personnel in Syria's brutal crackdown against anti-Assad demonstrators.There was no response on Friday to requests for comment left with the Syrian Embassy and Iranian interests section in Washington.

Iran is beginning to get nervous about Assad's survivability. Syria is the linchpin of their entire Middle East strategy against Israel and the west. Through Syria, Iran funnels support to both Hezb'allah and Hamas, while using the Assad regime to pin down tens of thousands of Israeli troops. Losing Assad as a friend would be a huge blow to Iranian strategic interests, thus they are going all out to save him.

Can they? More dead bodies of civilians are at the feet of Assad and despite the delusional thinking of our State Department and administration that the dictator is the key to "reform" in Syria, even Obama appears to be losing patience with him. Iran and Assad know that they have to get control of the situation quickly or the west might rouse itself from its somnolence and initiate actions that could only end in Assad's departure.

That would spell catastrophe for Iran which is why the crackdown, as brutal as it has been, is likely to get bloodier yet.