Syria is on the brink of recovery as Saudi Arabia plans to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Arab League summit in Riyadh on May 19.
By Steven Sahiounie
Syria is on the brink of recovery as Saudi Arabia plans to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Arab League summit in Riyadh on May 19. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan will travel to Damascus soon to hand Assad a formal invitation to attend the summit, in what will be the most significant development in the Arab rapprochement with Assad.
Riyadh and Damascus are in talks to reopen embassies in both countries, in a culmination of diplomatic meetings, statements and policy shifts demonstrating new and independent positions on Syria.
The people of Aleppo say that they went to bed one night, and they woke up under occupation of armed fighters supported by the U.S. Obama administration, Turkey and Qatar.
In December 2016 the city was liberated from Al Qaeda and their affiliates, and they have been trying to recuperate, but with U.S.-EU sanctions opposing their reconstruction plans, the recovery has been slow going.
The people of Aleppo have hoped that as quickly as their lives were turned upside down by outside forces, the turning point of recovery and prosperity would be just as quick. Syria stands today on the threshold of a recovery which may hold peace and prosperity in the near future for 21 million inhabitants.
Saudi – China – Iran
The restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran last month heralded the beginning of a new era in the Middle East.
In the aftermath of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6 in Syria and Turkey, the Arab world came out in force with humanitarian aid to both countries. The U.S., following their Syrian policy, refused any aid to be distributed to Aleppo and Latakia, two of the hardest hit areas in Syria, instead insisting to focus aid deliveries strictly to Idlib, under the occupation of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists.
On April 1, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met in Cairo in advanced talks to restore full diplomatic relations.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could meet soon after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan ends in late April.
Mekdad and Shoukry discussed restoring Syrian unity and sovereignty over their entire territory, earthquake recovery, and an end to foreign interference in Syria.
Shoukry visited Syria and Turkey in February to show Cairo’s solidarity with the earthquake-stricken nations, in a move that signaled a thaw in relations with both countries.
Sisi of Egypt has aligned Cairo’s foreign policy with that of Riyadh. In the 2015 Qatar diplomatic crisis, Cairo’s positions were consistent with those of Riyadh.
Egypt and Syria both suffered under the Obama project to create a new Middle East through regime change. The U.S. rigged election of Mohamed Morsi resulted in a five-year prison sentence for American citizen Lila Jaafar, the director of the Cairo office of National Institute of Democracy.
Egypt suffered almost a year of murders and tortures under the Muslim Brotherhood backed Morsi regime before the people revolted and took back their country under Sisi. Turkey and the U.S. have supported the Muslim Brotherhood which was used by the U.S. in the Arab Spring. Turkey has recently been moving away from the Muslim Brotherhood as the presidential election draws close, but Qatar is the last remaining holdout, as yet unwilling to be independent of U.S. dictates.
An Emirati ship containing more than 2,000 tons of aid has docked at Latakia, Syria, loaded with food supplies, medical equipment and winter clothing.
The UAE’s Operation Gallant Knight 2 mission is a humanitarian operation to support people affected by the earthquake in Syria and neighboring Turkey. The Emirates previously sent 1,000 tons of aid to Syria in March, and Saudi Arabia sent aid as well.
Assad and the First Lady recently visited the UAE where they were warmly greeted. The UAE and Bahrain had previously reopened their embassies in Damascus, while Oman had never left.
The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic, headed by Dr. Ayman Sousan, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister, have arrived in Moscow to participate in the quadripartite meeting of the assistant foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey from April 3-4.
The meetings will focus on ending the Turkish military occupation in Syria, combating terrorism, and the ending of foreign meddling in Syria.
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will pay a visit to Turkey on April 6-7 and discuss Syrian issues.
Turkish President Tayyip Recip Erdogan faces his last election next month, and the voters will be evaluating his role in the Syrian crisis which brought over 3 million refugees flooding into Turkey.
U.S. – Kurds – ISIS prisons
“We don’t intend to normalize,” said Barbara Leaf, Assistant Secretary of State, while in London.
Leaf has visited in Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, and Tunisia recently, but has no plans to visit Damascus.
The Canadians are among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. The U.S. are military partners with the Kurds while about 900 U.S. soldiers occupy the main oil wells in Syria, and prevent the Syrian people access to their own energy resources.
19 Canadian women and 13 children are expected to fly from Syria to Canada after an agreement was reached with Canada for repatriation. The prison camps are a dangerous breeding ground for terrorism, and are unsafe for humans. Almost no food, water and cholera runs rampant in the squalid camps well visited by foreign journalists. The U.S. backed Kurds are in charge, but have either a lack of funding, or the corruption among the U.S. military partners has led to the unlivable situation.
Many western democracies sent their young men and women to fight as terrorists in Syria. U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany and Belgium are among the top countries who have prisoners in the Kurdish prison camps in northeast Syria. Eventually, the U.S. will have to leave Syria, and the Kurds will have to repair their relationship with Damascus. At that point, the foreign terrorists, their wives and children, will have to be dealt with.
Just prior to the 2011 conflict, a massive offshore gas field was discovered in Syria. This has not yet been exploited because of the conflict. With the proceeds of the gas field, hospitals and schools can be constructed. Even after 12 years of conflict, Syria still offers free medical care and education.
In 2011, most of the Arab leaders were following orders directed from the Oval Office. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan were all firmly in step with the Obama Administration, and the U.S.-NATO attack on Syria for regime change.
Times have changed, and one of the biggest changes in the Middle East is the direction of Saudi Arabia under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan (MbS). The young leader of the most powerful country in the region has a Vision 2030, which has made significant changes, including a reversal of the former relationship between Riyadh and Washington. MbS does not take orders from Biden, he makes decisions based on the national interests of Saudi Arabia.
This article was originally published by Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org
Steven Sahiounie is a Syrian American award-winning journalist based in Syria. He is specialized on the Middle East. He has also appeared on TV and radio in Canada, Russia, Iran, Syria, China, Lebanon, and the United States.