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Restoring Ties with Syria Shows Regional Power Shift

On April 14th, 2023, Saudi Arabia hosted a summit in Riyadh discussing Syria’s possible return to the Arab League. Gulf Arab foreign ministers and their counterparts from Egypt, Iraq and Jordan were present at this meeting. Syria and Saudi Arabia announced plans to reopen embassies and resume flights between the two nations. 

Shortly after this summit, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud arrived in Syria’s capital, Damascus, to meet with President Bashar al-Assad as part of efforts to restore diplomatic ties. According to a statement released by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, Prince Faisal’s visit falls within the framework of “the Kingdom’s keenness and interest to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that ends all its repercussions and preserves Syria’s unity, security, stability, and its Arab identity, and restores it to its Arab surroundings, in a way that achieves the good of its brotherly people.” Saudi Arabia also plans to invite Syria to an Arab League summit hosted in Riyadh this May. 

Syria faced a western-backed propaganda campaign supporting so called rebel groups affiliated with terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda starting in 2011. That same year, Syria was kicked out of the Arab League, despite being one of the League’s original founders. This was upon collective agreement of the Gulf Arab nations, many of which funded and supported terrorist groups like Al Nusra Front. Such support for the opposition against President Bashar al Assad was based on Syria’s firm stance against both the Zionist entity and the western imperialist agenda throughout the region. Former US Senate candidate Mark Dank himself admitted that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia had been involved in creating terrorist groups to overthrow the Syrian government.

Saudi Arabia’s shift towards normalizing ties with Syria has been seen by many as a direct result of the Chinese brokered Iran-Saudi Deal that took place earlier this year. This deal strongly indicates a regional power shift towards Iran and other nations within the Axis of Resistance. The deal is a manifestation of the Resistance’s upper hand, as nations such as Saudi Arabia now have to establish relations with nations opposing the western-backed imperialist agenda in order to protect Saudi’s economic stability. 

The growing instability of the Zionist entity also contributes to this regional power shift. The power shift is further evident in the fact that Syria, with a longstanding stance supporting resistance against the Zionist-imperialist agenda, now has nations who were once involved in funding that agenda hastening to normalize relations. Regional observers also note that such efforts from the Arab nations to re-establish efforts with Syria show the failed western-backed agenda seeking to  dismantle President Assad’s government and the failed attempts to extinguish the morale and anti-imperialist stance of the Syrian people. 

As Saudi Arabia tries to take the lead in reinstating Syria’s position in the Arab League, Qatar strongly opposes Syria’s return to the Arab League. Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, mentioned that the original basis for the 2011 suspension of Syria’s membership in the Arab League still stands. Qatar was one of the main nations supporting the Al Nusra Front and has made numerous attempts throughout the war to rebrand the group to different names in order to legitimize support. Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, states “One of the reasons for the war on Syria was the refusal [by Damascus] to extend the Qatari gas pipeline to Europe via Turkey to thwart the Russian pipeline.”

On April 25th,  defense ministers of Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran held a four-way meeting in Moscow. One of the main topics of discussion was the Turkish military’s withdrawal from Syria, which Syria has repeatedly highlighted to be the main condition in normalizing ties with Turkey. The Turkish army continues to base itself in Northern Syria and to support terrorist groups like Al Nusra Front, also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). During the course of the meeting, Russia emphasized the significance of “the fight against all extremist groups in Syria.” It is unclear as to what Turkey’s next steps will be as it continues to illegally occupy parts of Northern Syria. 

As Arab nations begin to settle deals with Syria, it is crucial to see the underlying implications. Above all, this proves that the West’s attempt to dismantle Syria’s legitimate government through funding terrorism has failed. To add on, the gulf Arab nations, who hypocritically participated in fueling such turmoil within a fellow Arab nation, are all now making steps to normalize with Damascus. Regional power is eagerly shifting towards the Axis of Resistance—and away from the West. 

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  • Sayyeda Fatima

    Sayyeda Fatima is an American current affairs writer who focuses on analyzing domestic and broader global politics from lenses not projected by Western media.

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