| 27 January 2023, Friday |

No Arab consensus for Syria’s return to Arab League

Several questions were raised regarding the visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the United Arab Emirates, and his meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as some supported itو while others opposed.

A number of Arab countries were not surprised by the UAE’s move, after indications represented by a series of contacts and visits by Emirati officials to Damascus.
While other countries did not see this step as an entrance to reposition Syria in the Arab fold, although it carries important regional and international messages.

Still, a diplomatic reference in the Arab League confirmed to the “Sawt Beirut International” website, that this visit in itself constitutes an Arab and international event, and it coincides with several factors, most notably: the UAE’s rejection of an American request to increase oil production, the Russian-Emirati rapprochement, which was manifested through the UAE’s abstention from voting twice for an international UN resolution in the Security Council, in addition to the visit made by Emirati officials to Moscow a while ago, and to Damascus last November…

Those who are following up the repercussions of the first visit of the Syrian President in 11 years since the start of the Syrian war, consider that there are Arab countries such as Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and others, trying to hold diplomatic contacts and side consultations with the Syrian regime, with omens of possible transformations in the Middle East, with the aim of reaching an honorable way out to return Syria to the Arab embrace.

Likewise, indications of a rapprochement between Assad and the Arab countries increased last year, and this appeared through a phone call with Jordan’s King Abdullah, also an ally of the United States.

However, there seems to be obstacles, pitfalls, and alliances that the Arab countries cannot overcome or overlook, at least for now.
Observers believe that the Arab countries are trying, through their contacts, to take into account largely political and economic considerations, most notably how to confront Iranian and Turkish influence.

In this context, a veteran Arab diplomat, who declined to be named, told our website, “Syria’s return to its official seat in the Arab League is currently unlikely, as it is linked to regional and international factors, knowing that there are several attempts by Arab countries to reform relations with Syria.”

Moreover, Syria must have an Arab consensus, and I stress the word unanimity, and this matter is not currently available. Likewise, if one of the Arab countries proposes to the League Council a draft resolution outside the agenda related to Syria’s return to the League, and upon voting one of the countries opposes the resolution, then the draft resolution of return will inevitably fall.” And the above reference adds, “The UAE has for some time wanted to establish the best relations with the Arab countries, and what happened does not go beyond the framework of the Emirati dynamic, and it is not necessary to say that it is an Arab dynamic towards Syria.” This visit raised several questions about the extent of the UAE’s coordination with the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia.

According to observers, as long as no statement of objection or disapproval of this visit was issued, this indicates that the Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, are clearly aware of what happened.

But this does not mean at all that things are back to normal, although what happened may be a helpful element in reopening the channels of communication between Syria and the Gulf states. However, this step is absolutely not sufficient in the absence of a unified Arab consensus.

In short, there is no imminent return for Syria to the Arab League, but rather,the absence of any tangible positive factor that confirms that the expected Arab summit in Algeria next November will be held in the absence of Syria.

  • Sawt Beirut International