General Qassem Soleimani was a key figure in the cooperation with Moscow and had great respect for the Russian President Putin, the adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader on international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said during the funeral of the general.
Why has the advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader mentioned Putin and emphasized Soleimani’s “great respect” for him? Did the Iranian official thereby express Tehran’s dissatisfaction with Russia’s and particularly Putin’s attitude to what happened in Iran?
Moscow condemned Soleimani’s killing but apparently Tehran does not consider this enough and expects more from Russia. Meanwhile, Moscow still refrains from it, preferring not to position itself on one particular side. Earlier the Russian president left for Syria to wish the Russian servicemen a Merry Christmas and met with the Syrian President Assad.
Perhaps it is possible to say that Putin’s visit would not take place unless the murder of Soleimani and the resulting new situation. In this context, Putin’s visit to Syria takes place and his statement that now one can say that they have gone a long way towards restoring the Syrian state and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Why did the Russian president hurry to Syria and speak about the long way towards restoring territorial integrity and statehood? On the one hand, this can be perceived as a message to the United States, relating to the determination to prevent a new wave of instability in Syria. On the other hand, Putin’s visit to Syria could have been determined by Iran’s essential role in Syria which was implemented through Soleimani. Moreover, in the past two or three years one could notice that Assad’s government relied on the Iranian rather than Russian support which caused dissatisfaction in Russia.
Hence, one of the reasons for Putin’s visit to Syria after the strike by Iran could be posing as the adult at home.
The Russian political-military leadership has detected “freed” space for the Near Eastern game which it hurries to fill. Tehran’s mention of Soleimani’s great respect for Putin is apparently related to this circumstance.