Syria’s return to the Arab League. Opportunities and options

Hassnaaa tammam

The moves of Syrian politicians, along with their Arab counterparts, raise many questions about the extent of changes in Syrian -Arab relations, the possibility of changes in the form of regional and Arab alliances within Syria, and whether diplomatic relations between Syria and the rest of the Arab States could return to the Arab League.

These changes were observed in a short time at the level of senior politicians, these have been translated as primarily aimed at returning Syria its seat in the Arab League, which may set the stage for changes in the policies driving the Syrian spectrum, which we are trying to track.

Intensive encounters 

The head of the Syrian intelligence service met with his Saudi counterpart: On a side event of the “Arab Intelligence Forum,” held in Egypt.

At the same time, the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad  met in November 9,  the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Earlier, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, met with his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, in September 2021 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the highest meeting of its kind between the two Foreign Ministers.

Is the timing appropriate “Relationship Returns Motivations”?

There is no doubt that the boycott of the Syrian regime by the Arab States at the beginning of 2011 , however, that security and intelligence coordination between Syria and the Arab States has not been stopped but relationship return stimuli include the following:

– United States policy towards Syria is one of the engines in dealing with the Syrian file and Biden’s policy is different from that of his predecessor Donald trump as the latter, by his policy, helped to delay any steps towards Syria that would not have been possible. Until recently, the attitude of the new United States administration was unknown. If Joe Biden were to complete his predecessor’s policy or end his policy.

– On the other hand, the fact that Assad regime continues to remain in power, its way of dealing with the various Syrian groups, has demonstrated its commitment to remaining in power, which has been costly, and its continued maintenance of government in this way doing more harm than good to the Syrian- Arab and regional relations, particularly in relying on allies that threaten the security of several countries in the region, especially the Gulf States, and Iraq.

Fourth: Changes in regional and Arab interactions in the Syrian file

There is no doubt that the movement of the Syrian file, will lead to changes like the interactions in the Arab, regional and international context in the Syrian File. The most important of these are as follows:

Gulf disagreement over the position on the Syrian regime: for Saudi Arabia , Iran’s practices appear to be one package, need to be changed totally to accept return the diplomatic relations with Syria, includes stop supporting the Houthis, or Hezbollah in Lebanon .They don’t have a win-win relationship from the return of relations with Syria to the extent that they make concession, which is not the same perspective of UEA.

Syrian Arab cooperation in economic files: On the other hand, the next phase is likely to adopt cooperation with Syria in some economic cases, including the provision of energy, such as an Arab gas pipe through Syria from Egypt and Jordan to Lebanon, and the establishment by the Emirates of a solar power plant, which has already been announced, and which may be joined by other countries, or expanded cooperation.

Iranian – Syrian tension: if the Syrian regime wants to achieve Arab rapprochement, it had to reduce the size and advantages of the Iranian ally, which puts the Syrian side under pressure from both sides.

Potential Scenarios

Join as soon as possible: This scenario is based on the recent intensive diplomatic moves by the Syrian side and the support it enjoys from some Arab States. This scenario is unlikely if we compare the number of the Arab States that have agreed to their unconditional acceptance, with the other States that have established certain conditions or objected, as well as the influence of these States.

Exclusion of its joining to the Arab League:  Considering that, the Syrian regime has not offered any reason to accept it, rather its understanding at this time may support Iran’s position. This scenario is based on Iran’s welcoming to the visit of the UAE Foreign Minister to the Syrian president, saying that it is a recognition of Assad’s legitimacy.

The gradual preparation of Syrian relations with its Arab surroundings: This scenario is expected to continue and to be accompanied by the strengthening of these relations by various economic means, to give a gradual acceptance for dealing with the Syrian regime and its political acceptance.

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