West Asia Diplomacy Shifts


  • Arab countries and Syria have been seeking to repair their lost friendship in recent weeks. Jordan and Egypt recently dispatched Foreign Ministers to Damascus, marking their first high-level trips since the civil conflict began.
  •  Mr Assad visited the United Arab Emirates last month and was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the ruler of the seven Emirates. 
  • Tunisia became the latest Arab country to normalise relations with Syria earlier this week. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan visited Damascus on Tuesday and met with President Assad.

Points to Ponder:

  • The article analyses current trends in Arab-Syrian relations, particularly the normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria.
  • During the civil war, Saudi Arabia led Arab efforts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and expel the country from the Arab League.
  • However, as Mr Assad recovered control of most of the country in recent years, most Arab countries have reconsidered their Syria policies.
  • In late 2018, the UAE was the first Arab country to resume formal ties with Damascus, followed by Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia.
  • Saudi Arabia’s policy shift towards Syria reflects a broader realignment of regional strategy, including growing ties with Baghdad and the Saudi-Iran deal.
  • Mr Assad’s success in the civil war prompted most Arab governments to reconsider their Syria policies.
  • The earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria in February 2023 provided Damascus and its Arab neighbours with a diplomatic chance.
  • However, there are still obstacles to overcome in the process of normalising relations with Syria, such as civil war wounds and Western sanctions on Syria.
  • Engagement with Syria is considered essential for achieving West Asian stability and achieving goals such as political reforms, the return of Syrian refugees, and limiting Iran’s rising influence in Damascus.
  • The US and Israel are not pleased with the Arab-Syrian reconciliation, but experts believe the Saudi administration can withstand such pressure.