Seven years ago, in March, Syria descended into chaos when President Bashar al-Assad undertook to crush the popular protests challenging his rule. Iran quickly became involved on the dictator’s side and, covertly, at first, provided assistance to him and his forces. By 2014, Iran’s presence in Syria was undeniable and the Revolutionary Guards were spotted in theater. Since then, Tehran has committed money and troops to propping up Assad while supporting him politically on the international stage—even as the international community has decried mass atrocities, including the use of chemical weapons, by Assad’s forces. Although the exact scale of Iranian commitment to Syria remains contested, it is estimated that the country has deployed thousands of troops, dozens of military advisors, and millions (maybe even billions, by some accounts) of dollars to protect Assad’s rule. But while Iran has paid a cost for its involvement in Syria, today it is beginning to reap its fruits of its investment….