No! I’m not talking about that damned “red line” thing. I’m talking about the old adage: “follow the money.”
Assad’s Syria has virtually no functioning economy. The country is in ruins. Millions are refugees, internal or external, At least 500,000 are dead, probably more. And yet Assad has a fairly large, functioning war machine fighting to reestablish his family’s control over Syria. Where in the hell does he get the money to fund his troops, his aircraft, and to keep his bureaucracy running?
IRAN! The Iranians have been bankrolling Syria since the early stages of the civil war, to some degree even before the civil war. Nobody knows exactly how much Tehran’s support for Assad costs each year. I’ve seen good estimates at $10 to $15 billion.
If you follow what the Iranians protestors have been saying, they know that their tax dollars are flowing to help Assad. That’s one of their major gripes with the Mullahs’ regime. Many Iranians would prefer that those dollars flowed into helping the Iranian people, rather than supporting wars in Syria and Yemen.
That being the case, anything that the United States does that puts more dollars into the pockets of the Mullahs, inevitably increases the flow of dollars to Syria to support Assad’s butchery.
When President Obama, and company, used the JCPOA deal to return $150 billion to Iran, and ended many economic sanctions that allowed the expansion of the Iranian economy, Obama had to know, unless he was a total idiot, that some of those dollars would be used by the regime to fund terrorism, and to bankroll Assad and his butcher-war. Obama helped bankroll Assad! That’s the reality. Follow the money.
Conversely, any actions taken by Trump that will reduce Iranian economic activity, and tax receipts, will force the Mullah’s to make harder choices about continuing their support for Shi’a movements in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, or redirecting some of those funds to the support of the long-suffering Iranian people.