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In this regard, the Syrian regime is no less eager to keep Syria united than are the Iranians and Turks. On Feb. 11, Assad vowed that he would recapture the whole of Syria, even if it took time. As the Russians and Americans negotiate, he knows very well that his own future as leader of Syria may be in doubt.Assad's regime is in such a mood today, which is why it will try to play on Russian-Iranian differences to protect itself.While Iran undoubtedly bolstered Assad's regime, it also largely failed to decisively reverse the tide in Syria. Until the Russians intervened, Assad was losing ground rapidly, despite Iranian and Hezbollah assistance. Assad can maneuver on the margins, but the Syrian president cannot afford to forget that his political survival was secured by Russian goodwill and technology.Once a managed transition becomes possible, Assad will see that he is expendable.That's when the Russians and Iranians, along with the Americans, the Turks and the Saudis, will have to work out a broader arrangement for Syria. Its name is Bashar Assad.
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