Bright colours in Syrian political picture

Wednesday, 2019-01-09 17:00:49
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General view of Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 9, 2017.
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NDO – The Arab League (AL) is considering the possibility of restoring Syria’s membership, after many Arab states have voiced their intention of resuming their relations and re-opening their embassies in Syria.

After eight years of undergoing a fierce war against rebels and terrorist groups, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s administration has “turned the tables” and reclaimed control over most of the country’s territory, helping the country to revive and be prepared for many opportunities for cooperation.

The developments on the battlefield are of decisive significance to Syrian politics. The Russian-backed Syrian army achieved a resounding triumph in different fronts against the Western-backed rebels, leading the balance of power to lean toward the Syrian government forces. The Syrian army currently controls most of the nation’s territory, while the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has been kicked out of many areas and is only present in some of the vast Badia desert region in Deir Ezzor province.

Such a position of strength for the Damascus administration is also considered part of the reasons for the United States’ decision to withdraw troops. At the early stage of military interventions in Syria, one of the main goals pursued by the US and its Western allies was to overthrow President al-Assad’s regime. However, as the game changed, the US and the West were forced to give up on their intention of using military power, and claimed that they are now only focusing on combating terrorism.

The Syrian government is coping with new opportunities as international sponsors for the Astana peace process, together with the United Nations, are trying to push for the establishment of a committee tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria. This is an important step in the political roadmap towards bringing stability to the West Asian country. In the face of the peace and cooperation outlook in Syria, some Arab countries, including those that had tacitly supported the Syrian opposition, have voiced their wish to resume cooperation with the Damascus administration. Recently, there have been many positive signs in the prospect of restoring relations between Syria and the Arab nations. Bahrain announced the re-opening of its embassy in Syria, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy officially reopened after seven years. The UAE became the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to resume operations in Syria.

This is also the basis and an appropriate moment for the AL to consider allowing Syria to return to the “common house” of the Arab countries, after the league suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 in opposition to the violent measures taken to repress anti-government protests in the country. Secretary-General of the AL Ahmed Aboul Gheit once admitted that the suspension of Syria’s membership was a “very hasty” decision. The AL also stated that the enhancement of the role of Arab states aimed to prevent the region’s interference in Syria’s internal affairs, as well as to maintain the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In addition to increasing resources to seize control of all of the Syrian territory and repel terrorist organisations, the Damascus government is focused on repatriating refugees and reconstructing the country heavily devastated by the war. President al-Assad has announced a budget of nearly US$9 billion for the fiscal year 2019, one third of which is intended for investment projects, especially in war-torn areas. Russia and Syria have signed a number of economic, scientific and industrial cooperation agreements, in which Russian businesses play an important position in the Syrian reconstruction process.

The situation in Syria sees many potential complexities and risks, but the efforts of the Damascus government to revive the war-torn country are undeniable. The victory trend on the battlefield is bringing about advantages and opening new cooperation opportunities for Syria. Regardless of the arduous path ahead, the bright colours are gradually shining through on the Syrian political picture.