Tehran may also find itself welcoming a Syrian civil war as the second-best alternative to Al-Assad remaining in power. Iran’s influence in the region would be maintained if the current Syrian regime retains power, but short of that, the chaos arising from a civil war would still allow Iran to operate in the area and extend the life of its influence, even though with some difficulty. Should Syria fall, Iran’s influence in the Arab world would be limited mostly to Iraq, where it has to vie for influence with Saudi Arabia in an ongoing ideological and political war by proxy.
Should civil war arise, it would be fair to assume that Iran would join forces with the Syrian army. This would be used as propaganda by anti-Shia Sunnis who would portray the war as a Shia bloc victimising Sunnis, which would revive hatred and distrust against Shias and stir up old prejudices. Iran would become even more of a pariah, regardless of the war’s outcome. Shiism and Shias, inextricably linked to Iran, would suffer. Ironically, it may be Shia Iran that deals the hardest blow to Shiism