2. Iran’s Shia Crescent strategy stands as a bulwark against its regional rivals including Israel and Saudi Arabia. The fall of Assad in Syria would likely have resulted in a Sunni power to replace him. This would have cut off the Shia Crescent and boosted Saudi Arabia’s regional strength. For this reason the Iranian government and military have often said that the war in Syria is a foreign conspiracy to oust Assad (and as a result reduce Iranian influence in the region). While this may seem on the surface like a nonsensical conspiracy theory, the reality is that the petro states of the Gulf have in fact financed and armed many of the primary forces opposing Assad.
3. Syria has provided grounds not only to strengthen Hezbollah but also to enhance their arms from Iran for a potential future war with Israel.
4. Iran and the Assad regime in Syria share a similar Shiite Islamic tradition but this should not be seen as a primary motive for Iran’s involvement there. Geo-politics and not religion is what is driving this alliance.