News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 18, 2013

RONN MOTT: Why Syria?

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — Russia is making a lot of noise in favor of Syria. They are supplying Assad’s army with more armaments and basic things such as ammunition and such. 

The reason for this is fairly simple. Russia has been given a small seaport on the Mediterranean in Syria. It is something the czars and even Joe Stalin could not achieve. This port makes Russia a player in anything that goes on in the Mediterranean Sea. They will not give this up easily.

The other side of this is the Iranians who want to be a large player in this area. I’m sure the rulers of Iran have thought long and hard about returning the glory of Iran to what was once the mighty empire of Persia. Eastern Iraq, which borders Iran and has the majority of oil wells in the country, will be the first part of the nation of Iraq to fall into Iranian hands. Once they have Iraq, they will want Syria next which will give them a nation stretching to the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.

The Iranians are Shiites and the majority of people in Syria are Sunnis and they are the people who are revolting against President Assad, the dictator of Syria. The Muslim preachers of Egypt have cried out from their pulpits for a Jihad against Assad and his ruling clique because it is the Sunnis Assad’s army is killing. It gets murkier and more difficult to understand. 

Our arming the rebels of Syria has come to fruition, but it may be too late. Throw into the mix the excellent air force of Israel and you have a jumble of politics, emotion and a war that doesn’t seem to want to end.

The new president of the Islamic state of Iran is called a “moderate.” Any decision this president makes can be overruled by the ruling Ayatollah. His moderation may be lip service to the young people of Iran, but there will not be any meaningful change in Iran’s attitudes about atomic energy and their hatred of Israel. 

Here’s how it stacks up. Russia wants its seaport on the Mediterranean so they support the Syrian dictator. The Shiite state of Iran wants to stretch its empire toward the Mediterranean and to achieve that they will need to have Syria. It may only be a puppet state (Syrian in name only), but mark me … this is what Iran wants.

Throw into that void of unknowns, chemical weapons and a military which to this point has not won their war in Syria. Sitting just to the south is Israel with its intelligence gathering sources and they don’t want any more enemies in Syria.

This is not President Obama’s fight, but he is being drawn into it by the swirling movement of many people, many political ideologies and religions that for 1,500 years seemingly cannot live together. Be prepared for the worst, because the best is not going to happen in this part of the world.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.