Juan Cole writes 'With the alleged fall to the Islamic State of Iraq, and [in] Syria of Qa’im on Saturday, and of Talafar a few days ago, the border between Iraq and Syria has now been effectively erased.
A new country exists, stretching from the outskirts of Baghdad all the way to Aleppo.
The first thing that occurred to me on the fall of Qa’im is that Iran no longer has its land bridge to Lebanon. I suppose it could get much of the way there through Kurdish territory, but ISIS could ambush the convoys when they came into Arab Syria. Since Iran has expended a good deal of treasure and blood to keep Bashar al-Assad in power so as to maintain that land bridge, it surely will not easily accept being blocked by ISIS. Without Iranian shipments of rockets and other munitions, Lebanon’s Hizbullah would rapidly decline in importance, and south Lebanon would be open again to potential Israeli occupation. I’d say, we can expect a Shiite counter-strike to maintain the truck routes to Damascus.
He goes on to say 'Syrian jets bombed eastern positions of ISIS near the Iraqi border, perhaps signalling a likely alliance of Damascus and Baghdad to put the Sunni radical genie back in the bottle'.
From a petro-political perspective I find myself asking the following questions;
- What will be the reaction of Saudi Arabia with the Sunni forces in Iraq having both Damascus and Baghdad allied against them?
- What will Iran now do to support Bashar al-Assad?
- What will Iran do to keep their supply route to Hezbollah open?
For those of us living on Small Island Dveloping States (SIDS) and other states dependant on fossil fuel, the path towards alternative energy, i.e. solar, wind, OTEC and ocean current technologies looks more attractive with every passing day. Editor