What are the strategic implications of Syria’s readmission to the Arab League?

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What are the strategic implications of Syria’s readmission to the Arab League?

By: A. Taghavi’nia 

After an eleven-year hiatus, the Syrian government was warmly welcomed back into the Arab League. This achievement marks the Syrian government’s victorious return to an important regional organisation and demonstrates that the Western bloc’s agendas and those of its Arab allies vis-à-vis the Iran-led Axis of Resistance failed disastrously. The current Syrian administration has done nothing to try to rejoin the Arab League. Instead, the Arab nations felt obligated to call for its readmission due to Syria’s growing standing in the Arab world and President al-Assad’s consolidation of authority over the entire country. To prevent the expulsion of the Syrian government from the Arab League, the then-president of Iran flew to Saudi Arabia in 2012. However, at the time, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah rejected the Iranian initiative since he believed al-Assad’s downfall was imminent.

At the same time, Tehran was boycotted by Arab sheikdoms due to its backing of the Syrian government. However, the equations of the Middle East have evolved with Iran’s key ally, Syria, returning to the Arab League, i.e., the victory of the Axis of Resistance. It is important to remember that over the last 44 years, the Syrian government has provided a platform for Iran’s viewpoints in the Arab world and at the United Nations.

The only diplomatic rift between Damascus and Tehran dates back to 1987, when Damascus voted in favour of an Arab League statement criticising Iran for rejecting UN Resolution 598. Recognising the Syrian Arab Republic’s regional importance through its readmission to the Arab League will undoubtedly undermine the regional clout of Israel, the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, thus exposing the empty rhetoric from senior American officials as well as top leaders of the European Union that "Assad must quit".

On the other hand, the geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geostrategic ramifications of strengthening the Iraqi and Syrian governments in regional equations and their resounding victory over Takfiri terrorism and global pressures have far-reaching consequences. The most crucial factor is Iran’s access to the Mediterranean and the creation of a corridor between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut, which, if connected to China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will connect the East to the West and have many long-term economic benefits for the nations above. Weakening the global unipolar order is another effect of stabilising the Syrian Arab Republic under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.

A further consequence of stabilising the Syrian Arab Republic under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad is the weakening of the global unipolar system. In 2012 and 2013, approximately 70 countries, mostly opposing the Axis of Resistance and the government of Bashar al-Assad, led by the United States, participated in a series of meetings known as "Friends of Syria" and Geneva I and II. At the time, political observers concurred that al-Assad was unlikely to survive the pressure brought by such widespread international consensus.

Yet, the collapse of Syria’s democratically elected government was averted due to Moscow’s vetoes in the UN Security Council and the heroic sacrifices of Hezbollah, the IRGC’s Quds Force, and Afghan, Pakistani, and Iraqi volunteers. Since the Russian Air Force’s involvement in the Syrian civil war began in September 2015, the military balance has tipped decisively in President al-Assad’s favour. The primary reason al-Assad won the diplomatic battle today is primarily due to the military achievements realised by Iran and its allies. In fact, Damascus’ readmission to the Arab League and the Arab sheikdoms’ abandonment of their aggressive policies would not have been possible if terrorists with ties to Qatar, Turkey, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia had the upper hand in today’s strategic equations throughout Syria.

At the height of the Syrian government’s political isolation and Syria’s complete economic blockade, when the terrorists showed up in Umayyad Square and attacked the Syrian Ministry of Defence on July 18, 2012, few analysts expected that Bashar al-Assad would remain in power nearly a decade ago. With support from Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, al-Assad prevailed in the military conflict, and his international opponents were eventually forced to recognise his authority out of desperation. Finally, it should be stressed that military accomplishments are the ultimate arbiters of global power dynamics.

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