“Starting this fire will be like a spark in a large store of gunpowder, with unclear and unspecified outcomes and consequences,” Khamenei told Iranian Cabinet members this week. “The U.S. threats and possible intervention in Syria is a disaster for the region and if such an act is done, certainly, the Americans will sustain damage like when they interfered in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (report from CNN)
“The West handles the Islamic world the way a monkey handles a grenade,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted. (report from CNN)
A leaked cable from President Bashar al-Assad to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei:
“Dear SL Khamenei,
Blessings be upon you. I am so grateful for your continued assistance in the face of the threats and aggression from the infidel Western powers.
It is most helpful that President Obama has telegraphed his exact plans. He only intends to inflict some damage to discourage me from using chemical weapons again — he has made clear that he is not interested in regime change. So we do not need to fear truly massive attacks. Moreover, the divisions among the Western and Arab powers have given us time to relocate our crucial command and control facilities, and our armor and missiles, to heavily populated civilian areas where the US is unlikely to strike. So I am confident that we will be able to continue our fight with minimal impediment from the planned US strike.
I am most fortunate to have skilled and intelligent allies like yourself, who understand what it takes to hold onto power. The Americans are weak and naïve — they don’t seem to realize that I am fighting for my survival, and will do whatever it takes, shelling or gassing any number of terrorists and traitors. This is my country and my family’s country, and the only way I will leave Damascus is feet first! Luckily for us, the Americans have a cautious President who doesn’t want to tarnish his Nobel Peace Prize by starting up a new war. As long as the US continues its half-hearted approach, we can easily manage to withstand a few dozen cruise missiles, and continue our mission of destruction of all who oppose us.
I congratulate you on continuing to add centrifuges and build up your nuclear capabilities. With Iran stronger than ever, support from Hezbollah, and a Syria that has stood up to the West and survived, we will have an alliance that will strike fear into our enemies, and even intimidate the hated Israelis. The next few weeks, like the last few years, will be a trial. But with our alliance strong, we will survive and in the end, we will triumph and lay waste to our enemies.
Note: Of course this letter is fictional; it presents my notion of what Assad might be saying to Khamenei this week.