Arab leaders consider normalizing relations with Syria’s president
After being treated as a pariah to proceed total war with his own people Over the past decade, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been slowly being reintroduced into the regional diplomatic society. Although Syria is still expelled from the Arab League, Arab leaders are re-engaging with a tyrant hitherto seen as toxic by all but Iran, Russia and China.
Last month, King Abdullah of Jordan, who a decade ago called for Assad’s resignation, phoned him. This month, Prince Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates and brother of its leaders, visit him in Damascus.
While the US administration of Joe Biden is watching and Europeans are eyeing the idea of ”normalizing” relations with Assad, it should be remembered that Jordan and the UAE are close to the US but also to Israel. Israeli governments have long preferred Assads forces take power across their shared border, where until the Syrian civil war began in 2011, almost no shots were fired since the accords. announced an armistice following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. That choice holds true even as Israel’s air force and cyber-warriors wage a shadow war inside Syria and Iraq, against against Iran and its paramilitary proxies such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah.
The Arabs’ motivation to submit to Assad is a response to “Shia Crescent” King Abdullah has warned of it since 2004. Iran is believed to be building a network across the Middle East after the US-led invasion of Iraq virtually endowed the country with majority rule. Shia and Iranian control in Baghdad.
NS The UAE is using its power of attraction is a cutting-edge expansion market in the Gulf with resources to help rebuild Syria, and construction companies making it happen. Saudi Arabia, along with Qatar, a strong supporter of the Sunni uprising against the Assad regime, is currently holding out. After abandoning diplomacy with Iraq, Saudi Arabia paved the way for Iraqi leaders such as Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric turned king, who finished first in Iraq’s two most recent general elections, defeating Iranian proxies. Gulf countries also screw in Lebanon in response to Hizbollah’s ever more naked control.
When Gulf Arab leaders look at Tehran’s construction of a corridor across the Levant into the Mediterranean and down towards Yemen, they see Persian neo-imperialism, with its supremacist undertones. threatening Shia, that American history and European rigor have done little to contain. From the invasion of Iraq under the President Mr. George W. Bush come “maximum pressure ‘campaign against Iran under Donald Trump’Tehran has emerged as a major beneficiary in regional geopolitics.
America has long since lost credibility, specifically in Syria, but across the region. Trump’s failure to respond to Iran’s devastating September 2019 drone and precision missile attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities is nominal. After several attacks, he decided that Saudis not Americans had been attacked. Meanwhile, Turkey, a NATO ally, has established three encirclements across northern Syria since 2016, pushing Kurdish forces abandoned by the US ally that control a quarter of the country. towards Assad.
The EU pushes for a political solution in Syria through a new constitution. Russia, along with Iran saving the Assad regime, also supports this, leading to misplaced hopes that Moscow can stifle the presence of both Assad and Iran in Syria.
There are feverish speculations that Assad may be separating himself from Iran after it was reported “Deportation” General Javad Ghaffari, Expeditionary commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria since 2015. This seems unlikely. It may be an alliance without love, but Syria under his father Assad stood by Iran in the 1980-1988 war with Iraq (and co-founded Hizbollah). In Iran’s turn, Bashar sided with Bashar as his regime faltered in 2012 and 2015, providing ground troops for his dwindling and exhausted army. That alliance will not change.
But Gulf Arab leaders see that as no reason for them to sit on their hands. After all, Syria was in danger of being attacked by the US and its allies in 2005 and 2006 – for sending jihadists into Iraq to counter the Anglo-American occupation and supporting Hizbollah’s 2006 war. with Israel and entrenched in Lebanon. However, in 2008, Assad was captured in Paris by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are hedging their bets through parallel de-escalation talks with Iran. They do know, however, that Syria, part of central Arabia, is a rotating compass in geographical policy terms. Now they are taking their bearings.