Arab countries have come to an agreement. After 12 years of obstruction, Syria will take part in the Arab League summit, which is to be held in Algeria in March 2022.
Suspending Syria’s membership in the Arab League was wrong
The news was announced by the baladi-news.com website, which referred to Qatari publication Al Araby Al Jadeed. An unnamed source in the General Secretariat of the Arab League told the publication that Damascus went to meet Doha and took certain steps in this direction.
Syria’s return to the Arab League can be justified by the fact that the decision to freeze its membership in 2010 was wrongful. It was made in violation of the Charter of the League, the source said.
Al Araby Al Jadeed said that the decision did not comply with the Arab League Charter from March 22, 1954. Article 8 of the Charter states that each member of the League shall respect the existing system of government in other states of the League, consider it to be a right of those states and undertake not to take any action to change this system.
In addition, the decision to suspend Syria’s membership in the Arab League did not find unanimous approval among its members. Three out of 22 countries — Syria, Lebanon and Yemen — objected and Iraq abstained from the vote, which also contradicted the Charter, which in this case requires consensus.
Russia asked for help from the President of Egypt
According to a source in the Arab League, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates assumed the main role in resolving the situation, which is of personal interest to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The latter promised Russia to solve this problem by coordinating with the UAE and other countries.
Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, confirmed that Syria could return to the League during the next summit, should the Arab states reach consensus on the draft resolution, indicating the desire of a number of countries to do so.
He noted that Algeria, Iraq and Jordan were particularly eager for Syria to return to the Arab League.
Arab media indicate that the desire to return Syria to the Arab world is connected with two aspects:
- to rid Syria of the influence of Iran,
- to benefit from the post-war reconstruction of the country.
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed’s visit to Damascus in November came as a signal to recognise Bashar al-Assad as the legitimate president of Syria. In addition, there was a telephone conversation held last month between Assad and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
The settlement plan takes into account Russia’s interests
The objectors are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but Qatar is ready for the return of Syria. Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat published a “Jordan-promoted document” this week on Syria’s reintegration into the Arab League.
According to the document, the United States, the International Coalition in Syria and Iran will have to withdraw their troops from the Arab Republic. The withdrawal will be conducted in accordance with a phased approach that works to contain Iran’s influence in certain parts of Syria and recognizes Russia’s legitimate interests.
According to the document, there are several aspects to move forward on:
- The development of a phased approach to a political solution based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254 (it stresses that the future of Syria will be determined by the Syrian people).
- Call in the necessary support from like-minded regional and international partners that seek to harmonise this approach with Russia.
- Making decisions on the mechanism of interaction with the Syrian regime.
The article says that King Abdullah II of Jordan discussed this document with US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as with Arab and foreign leaders.
The document changed the regime change requirement to gradual change in the behavior of the Syrian regime.
USA gives the yellow light
Arab media indicate that the United States still remains opposed to the initiative. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at a press conference on Friday that they were not considering a possibility for the situation to get normalised.
“We don’t support normalisation, and again, we would emphasise to our friends and partners to consider the signals that they’re sending,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
In the Arab world, this is called to give the yellow light.
Syria lives under tough US sanctions, which impede investment, wherever it may come from, and Syria’s greatest problem is economic recovery.
Why Arab states recognise Bashar al-Assad
In a comment for Pravda. Ru, Yuri Zinin, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Center for Middle East Studies, said that Syria’s participation in the Arab League summit recognises the legitimacy of Bashar al-Assad’s government.
“This should have a positive effect on the future of this country,” the expert said.
He recalled that after the Arab Spring, supported by the Gulf countries and Turkey, Syria was practically pushed out of the Arab League.
“A number of Arab countries could see for themselves that the Syrian authorities and the Syrian people have managed to survive all the tribulations, and they start changing their stance on Syria,” the expert said.
Secondly, Arab countries could also see that the forces that were opposed to Bashar al-Assad have turned into transnational groups that began to bother neighboring countries.
To crown it all, USA’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan showed USA’s allied Arab governments that one should not rely on Washington completely.
“The main signal came from the leaders of the Emirates, who stated that they wanted to help Syria to bring it back to life,” Yuri Zinin said.