Editorial: Arab nations must be part of Syria’s future

ABU DHABI, 8th March 2019 (WAM) – The decision to re-open the UAE’s embassy in Damascus was crucial to counter foreign meddling, the English language daily ‘The National’ has opined.

The paper said in a commentary today: “The UAE has confirmed its intention to “ensure Syria returns to the Arab region”, in the words of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. On Wednesday, during a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Sheikh Abdullah shed light on the country’s decision to re-open its embassy in Damascus last December. Simply put, this gesture was not intended to legitimise Bashar Al Assad’s continued rule after years of war, nor to condone the actions of his regime, but rather to ensure Arab voices are heard in discussions about Syria’s future.”

With Mr Al Assad reclaiming almost all Syrian territory, a new phase has begun in the seven-year war. And with different powers vying for influence, Arab states are determined to protect Syria’s territorial integrity.

ISIS has been all but defeated in Eastern Syria. All that is left of the so-called caliphate is the tiny pocket of Baghouz, where the terror group is fighting its last battle against the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces. The US-led international coalition has hastened the group’s demise and provided the SDF with support and protection. But given President Donald Trump’s clear intention to withdraw most – if not all – US troops from Syria, a power vacuum is bound to open, into which various regional actors will certainly hope to lurch.

Russia has backed Mr Al Assad for years with military intervention and is partly responsible for keeping him in power. Meanwhile, Iran-backed forces, including Lebanese Hezbollah, have fought alongside the regime, expanding Tehran’s influence in the country. Turkey, too, has become a key belligerent, taking military action against the Kurds in northern Syria.

Arab nations must ensure their voices are heard in postwar Syria. Otherwise, distant powers are bound to cement their influence over the divided country, undermining peace efforts and Syrian sovereignty and possibly exacerbating ethnic, religious and political divides.

Damascus was expelled from the Arab League in 2011 for its brutal response to protests, a gesture that failed to halt the nation’s descent into war. Today, Arab nations are considering Syria’s readmission to the League – an effort that is not intended to normalise relations with Mr Al Assad, but to open possible avenues for stabilising the country.

The UAE’s decision to reopen its embassy in Damascus constituted a step towards stabilisation, in the form a benevolent diplomatic presence in a country beset by rival powers seeking their own interests.



About Author

In November 1976, the United Arab Emirates agreed to set up the Emirates News Agency, WAM, to communicate news and information about the nascent state. On 18th June, 1977, WAM began to fullfil its professional mandate by transmitting UAE news to the rest of the world, covering all aspects of its political, economic and social development. The data on this website is federated through WAM.AE RSS Feeds. This website is not affiliated with WAM and you are requested to always view the latest articles and updates directly from the source website.

You may also like

ADFF Introduces New Award for Environmental Films

  • Sep 09, 2011
WAM Abu Dhabi, Sept. 6th, 2011 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), organized by Abu Dhabi Authority for

DCL analyzes thousands of food and environmental samples

  • Sep 09, 2011
Tue 06-09-2011 22:08 PM WAM Dubai, Sept. 6th, 2011 (WAM) -- Food and Environment Laboratory Section of Dubai Central Laboratory