Middle East

Iran's support for Syrian regime is mixed bag for US, report says

Iran’s support for the Syrian regime is a mixed bag for U.S. policymakers that may cause long term damage to Tehran among its Middle Eastern neighbors, according to an advance copy of a journal from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center reviewed by Fox News.

The article called “Iran’s Unwavering Support to Assad’s Syria,” authored by Karim Kadjadpour, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will be published Tuesday as part of a Special Edition of the CTC Sentinel.

 The issue includes eight special reports on Syria, which cover the growing alliance between Syria and Hezbollah as well as new, on-the-ground reporting of the Syrian conflict.

Kadjadpour argues that on the one hand, Iran’s involvement in the Syrian conflict will reduce the likelihood of a deal on Tehran’s covert nuclear program. But on the other hand, it is potentially damaging to Tehran’s standing in the region.

“For U.S. policymakers, Iran’s unabashed support for  (Syrian president) al-Assad is a mixed blessing. Iranian support prolongs al-Assad’s shelf-life and further tarnishes U.S.-Iran tension and mistrust, making a potential nuclear accommodation less likely. At the same time, it simultaneously darkens Iran’s regional reputation among Sunnis and hemorrhages it financially, weakening its ability to project power and influence throughout the Middle East,” he wrote.

The analysis also explains why an alliance that grew out of the first Gulf War has survived, even strengthened.

“Mutual contempt for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq brought Syria and Iran together in 1980, and mutual fear and loathing of the United States and Israel has helped sustain their alliance.”

The full report will be available on the CTC website Tuesday at 10am ET.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.