Further, Iran is building a sectarian Alawite- and Shia-majority militia, Ammar Abdulhamid, a pro-democracy Syrian activist based in Washington DC, and the head of the Tharwa Foundation, tells NOW. Abdulhamid believes this new militia will seek to maintain old alliances with minority communities, loyalist Sunni clans and groups, while attempting to forge new ones in the future among potential ‘rogue’ rebel units who would be more interested in carving out turf for themselves than in the fate of the country.
“At this stage,” adds Abdulhamid, “Assad is a mere placeholder. Despite the all-too-real cult of personality that surrounds Assad in the ranks of the Alawite community, this does not ensure his long-term survival. Iran eventually wants a group that will be beholden to [it] first, not to Assad,” says Abdulhamid.