Op-ed: President Assad flexing his muscles, but behind the scenes Iran is calling the shots.

In Islam, slavery was institutionalized and promoted as a necessity during wars. We find throughout our history, during al-Foutouhat (Conquests), many occasions upon which the “enemy” was subjected to servitude by a Muslim master abiding by his Koranic beliefs.

Even today, we see its enduring finger prints in Islamic societies in the form of sex trade, premature forced marriages, abusive household masters, female mutilations, etc”¦ But we also witness slavery today in Machiavellian form across many Islamic societies in the Middle East. On that basis, there is ample evidence to suggest that Assad has become Iran”™s Arab slave.

The conclusion is based on several circumstantial factors. In 2000, Assad ascended to power at the age of 34. While still learning how to use power, he was supposedly attacking the greatest power in Iraq with suicide missions. Given his background as a trained healthcare provider, it is quite a stretch to think he was capable of such a bold policy without Iranian assistance and help. Another factor is the futility of the US State Department to peel Assad from Ahmadinejad even though the stars were aligned for such a successful outcome with a new US president eager for dialogue. That failure remains a mystery to many who are still scratching their heads. If you add, as well, how Assad has yielded to Hezbollah in Lebanon, one cannot but come to the same conclusion of how an Arab slave functions under the Iranian grip.

However, to confuse this relationship, Iran spreads misinformation to the fact that Assad is about to battle Hezbollah in Lebanon and believe it or not, some very smart people actually believe it.In September, and according to several intelligence sources, Assad has reshuffled the heads of his four security pillars, some with Generals favored strongly by Iran. One specifically is Maj. Gen. Zouhair Hamad, probably hand-picked by the IRGC, to run Syria”™s internal security. Again, this demonstrates clearly the inconsistency one can detect between Assad”™s boldness on the world stage and his subjugation to Iran over Syria”™s internal affairs.

For the chess players amongst us, how is it possible to jump from a player with less than a 1,000-rating to a master overnight? The explanation is simple.

Long list of Iranian demands

Assad has become a slave of Iran because his father dictated to him that he is not to lose power at any cost. It also seems that Iran was present in the same room. In 2004, hypothetically speaking, Assad asked himself a question: Who can protect my rule best, the Americans or the Iranians? Under an American umbrella, his rule would be safe from another war but he will continuously be playing the music chair in a room of old Arab leaders he cannot associate with and a new rising power in his neighborhood. With Iran, his back would be protected but he can play the role of the spoiler against the West and other Arab rulers the way his father taught him how.

In return, Ahmadinejad asked for and received a long list of demands to include weapon delivery to Hezbollah, a big footprint of Iranian military and religious assets and symbols inside Syria, a NATO-like weapon exchange program to include storage and upgrade of missile systems to protect Iran, and more importantly, a Hezbollah footprint inside Syria just in case Assad turns his back on Iran.

But as master chess players, the Iranians also asked Assad to keep the West on its heels by feeding the US with intelligence on al-Qaeda-type terrorists who also happen to be enemies of Iran and Syria and provide hope that he would be willing to switch sides.

The region is settling into this new master/slave arrangement between Ahmadinejad and Assad that few believe exists as they watch Assad flex his muscles. But behind the scene, Iran is pulling the levers and it is in the interest of the Iranians to provide Assad, the Arab, with a long leach he can use to bite his neighbors on behalf of the Mullahs. As an example, Saudi Arabia”™s King Abdullah sold Lebanon for pennies because he feared Iranian intrusion into Shia-majority Dammam in the Eastern Province through Iraq. Guess who indirectly fed Abdullah with such hogwash? None other than Iran.

While Bashar Assad”™s father treated power as a soft asset to be exploited in a discreet manner, his son exploits it to grandstand the Arab League, the West and Israel. The funny part is that Assad, the Arab slave of Iran, believes that his own supremacy is what keeps him in power. That”™s what happens when an ophthalmologist fails to check his own eyes.

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