Iran’s battle in Syria is futile. Sunnis outnumber other groups four to one in Syria and even if Assad manages to restore his police state, the damage to Iran’s reputation will continue to be severe. Iran partook in the killing of so many and in the destruction of so much of Syria’s heritage. It sacrificed its and Hezbollahs standing as pan-Islamic actors against Israel and the west. It went against the will of the Iranian people and the top Shia clerics in Najaf. It spent billions on destruction and intimidation in Syria and Lebanon, money pilfered from local Iranian agendas. The IRGC may think it still is a power but it has far overplayed its hand. It can remain in power by ignoring the will of the Iranians, but how long will that last? The Iranian opposition is strong and managed to get the least confrontational regime candidate elected president. But the new president is little different from Ahmedinejad when it comes to actual foreign policy.
Iran needs an exit from Syria but the IRGC may not go along, it is heavily invested there and also profits mightily from its smuggling operations evading sanctions. The game in Iran is between the people and the IRGC with the political and religious classes wobbling somewhere in the middle, trying to hold the tigers by the tail.