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Published in Press Stream:
September 22, 2015

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Published in Stream:
September 22, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Hezbollah Reportedly In New Alliance With Russia And Iran In Syria
6 years
Stream: September 22, 2015
Publication: Putin in Syria
Russia May Be Building Two New Bases In Latakia, Syria

Al-Akhbar, a pro-Hezbollah daily newspaper based in Beirut, Lebanon, claims that Russia has entered into an alliance with the Syrian military and Hezbollah fighters who are backing the Assad regime. Now Lebanon reports:

Al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin wrote that secret talks between Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq had resulted in the birth of the new alliance, which he described as “the most important in the region and the world for many years.”

“The agreement to form the alliance includes administrative mechanisms for cooperation on [the issues of] politics and intelligence and [for] military [cooperation] on the battlefield in several parts of the Middle East, primarily in Syria and Iraq,” the commentator said, citing well-informed sources.

“The parties to the alliance are the states of Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq, with Lebanon’s Hezbollah as the fifth party,” he also said, adding that the joint-force would be called the “4+1 alliance” – a play on words referring to the P5+1 world powers that negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran.

Hezbollah fighters have played a key role in supporting the Assad regime in Syria, as have command & control missions by the Iranina Revolutionary Guard Corps and a near-endless supply of parts, weapons and ammunition coming from both Iran and Russia. Now, with Russian military bases growing, Russian drones and aircraft operating over Syria, and Russian troops already defending positions in Latakia and, according to The Daily Beast, Damascus, it's perhaps not surprising that the Russian military would be cooperating with other pro-Assad forces on the ground.

However, this flies in the face of statements made by US Secretary of State John Kerry today that Russian forces in Syria are there to protect their own assets. "For the moment it is the judgment of our military and experts that the level and type represents basically force protection," Kerry told reporters today, according to The Moscow Times.

"If [Russia is] there to shore up Assad and to certainly provide Assad with the continued sense he doesn't have to negotiate, then I think it's a problem for Syria, and it's a problem for everybody who wants to bring an end to this conflict, which has gone on for too long," he added.

But "shore up Assad" is precisely what Russia is doing, according to Hezbollah, and evidence suggests that Russia is coordinating with Iran as well. Just today, another Russian military aircraft was tracked from Iranian airspace to the Russian air base in Latakia.

-- James Miller