On Sunday, 20 January, the news agency Reuters reports that a ‘senior aide to Iran’s supreme leader warned against the overthrow of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, saying his fate was a “red line”, in one of the Islamic state’s strongest messages of support for the Damascus government. Iran has steadfastly backed Assad’s rule since an uprising against his rule began almost two years ago and regards him as an important part of the axis of opposition against arch-foe Israel’. Following President Obama’s much-publicised declaration that Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his adversaries would constitute a red line, now finally, President Assad’s only regional allies have come out with their own declaration. Speaking on Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen satellite television, Ali Akbar Velayati, who could very well be Ahmadinejad’s successor in June, declared the following: “If the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, the line of resistance in the face of Israel will be broken . . . We believe that there should be reforms emanating from the will of the Syrian people, but without resorting to violence and obtaining assistance from the (United States of) America”.
It is assumed that about 60,000 people have perished in Syria as a result of the violent opposition to the Assad regime, which the mainstream media are at pains to portray as yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of the Arab Awakening. As I pointed out in a piece published in Hürriyet Daily News, it would even be foolhardy to regard these uprisings across the wider Arab world as spontaneous emanations of any popular will. Even so, it seems to me that the situation in Syria is in many ways similar to the violent “Assisted Rebellion” in Libya, as an orchestrated uprising that could be seen as a proxy-conflict in the New Cold War between the U.S., its NATO allies and the up and coming superpowers of Russia and China, while at the same also targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At the same time, Turkey, that appears to have been part of the Syrian conflict since the very beginning, is now in the process of receiving the promised Patriot missiles to “protect” its borders against Syrian incursions: ‘Germany has sent 240 soldiers to southern Turkey as part of a NATO mission using Patriot missiles to deter cross-border airstrikes from war-torn Syria. Units are also being provided by the Netherlands and the US. The main German contingent flew out of Berlin Sunday [, 20 January], headed for Kahramanmaras, 100 kilometers (62 miles) inside Turkey’s border with Syria, where two German Patriot units are to be fully operational by early February . An advance Bundeswehr team is already on site and the missiles with launch equipment arrived by ship in Turkey on Monday [, 21 January]. The deployment will number some 350 German soldiers, including medics’, as reported by the Deutsche Welle. Using a somewhat warped form of logic, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere explains that these Patriot missiles are supposed to produce a “deescalating effect” on the Assad regime. The Minister explained further that “We learnt during the Cold War that deterrence can only function when in doubtful moments one is ready to use the weapons . . . Should Syrian rockets be fired at Turkey then NATO will use the Patriot missiles”.
 “Assad’s overthrow “red line” for Iran: supreme leader’s aide”.
 “German Patriot missile troops arrive in Turkey”.