Two Decades In Power: A Political Discourse
A decade following the beginning of the Civil War in Syria and the political fate of the nation increasingly tends to remain linked to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the question now arises: Has the Syrian leader won the war?
The normalisation of ties between many Arab States and the Assad Regime, as well as agreements between Iran, Russia and Turkey on preserving a territorial status quo, give Assad not only a breath of fresh air after 10 years of military incursions and political juggling, but the legitimacy he needed to portray himself as the only solution to Syria’s present and future.
Kuwait and Jordan have announced the reopening of their embassies in Damascus, while Oman has appointed a new diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital, and Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has met his Syrian counterpart in recent times. The situation on the ground has entered a status quo with the Astana Agreements launched in 2017 between Iran, Russia and Turkey.
The three regional powers were on the other side of the Syrian conflict, with Turkey playing the role of protector of Idlib, the only part of the Syrian territory still under rebel control, and allied with its most important group, the National Front of Liberation. Moscow and Tehran have supported the Assad Regime, with Tehran ensuring the regime’s survival on the ground through the Lebanese Hezbollah group and Shiite Iraqi militias. The Accords aimed to prevent a military clash between the three signatories in Idlib, where the geopolitical interests of Turkey, Russia and Iran are colluding.
The US is under pressure from regional allies, such as the UAE and Egypt, to reconsider its approach to Syria. The Arab States fear that the Humanitarian Crisis and the Turkish-Iranian presence on the ground would increase the influence of Ankara and Tehran on Syrian territory and beyond, in West Asia.
Furthermore, the US-imposed sanctions on the Assad Regime under the CAESAR Act make it almost impossible to attract investors into post-war reconstruction plans of Syria. The Arab Nations also fear that Ankara and Tehran could step forward to fill the gap, thus, becoming political kingmakers in Damascus in the long run.
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