By The Free Iranian Staff
In recent months reports have begun to emerge that despite Russia and Iran’s seeming military alliance in Syria, Russia has actually been playing an entirely different game. Each of them is operating in its own interest and more and more clear evidence shows that when their interests clash, they, undoubtedly, put their national interest over and above any alliance.
Israelis have repeatedly struck Iranian targets in Syria, and even though that likely weakens Russia’s position, they have stepped aside, allowing Israel to do it because, as they perceive it, it is an effective way of keeping Iran in check. The Islamic regime has incurred many casualties and spent oodles of money and yet the Russian have managed to limit the Khomeinist regime’s reach to a far-flung back country on the border with Iraq and are trying to block Tehran’s forces to step foot out of that location.
Russia, which does not have ground forces, encouraged the Islamic regime to act as infantrymen in Syria. And since the Islamic regime does not have an air force, the two rather complement and contrast each other. But during the last year, Israelis have attacked the Khomeinist compound on several occasions, killing a large number of the IRGC/Hezbollah forces that are made up of Iranian, Lebanese, Afghan and Pakistani militants; and at no time has Russia made any attempt to provide air cover for any of these instances.
Russia has kept tabs on the many mistakes that the Khomeinist regime has made throughout the years. Among those are the regime’s impolitic behavior on the international arena, the infighting among the Khomeinist regime brass, as well as its need for supremacy. To that end Russia is intensely aware of the tenuousness of the regime’s lifespan, wants to keep them as weak as possible, in order to use it as an ace up their sleeve to use with the U.S. at some point.
Now too, Syrian media report that merchants and shop owners in Aleppo are blasting the Khomeinist regime militias, blaming them for the collapse of much of commerce in the city. Merchants in Aleppo have reported that the businesses belonging to merchants who are not close to Khomeinist forces have practically been blocked due to harassment and threats to close them down if they did not pay the “protection money” imposed upon them.
Merchants who are frustrated by Khomeinist militias have asked Assad to put the manufacturing areas and markets under the supervision and protection of the Russian military police rather than IRGC.
Fares al-Shihabi, president of the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce, who is said to be close to Tehran’s forces, has been accused of aiding them as they arbitrarily continue to exert force on the Aleppo’s business community. At the same time al-Shihabi has insinuated that the same forces have been involved in banditry. Additionally, roadway tariffs and tolls have been imposed on merchants’ goods at the Iranian checkpoints. The influence of IRGC also continuously expands and has begun to control commercial and industrial life in the city; hence anyone opposed to the Iranian militias, policies have stayed in their homes out of fear of revenge attacks.
The IRGC have been accused of looting the homes in areas of Aleppo close to the Military Academy and suburbs north of town. In the western area of Aleppo, near the front lines, the homes of families who have been displaced, were looted and burned by the Iranian forces as revenge for their repeated complaints of harassment. Russian forces and Russian military police have intervened on more than one occasion, during which clashes broke out between the Russians and Iranians.