Syrian administration is celebrating multiple Arab states normalization of ties after almost a decade. The US pressure policy against Assad government seems to have failed following years of political and economic sanctions.
Observers think Bashar al-Assad will not leave office anytime soon unless something unexpected happens. The condition is prompting several Arab states normalization of ties with the Syrian administration.
Washington strategy towards Damascus has devolved into a careful balance between sustaining Assad’s isolation and promoting “realistic” regional aims.
US Secretary of State highlighted the White House’s policy goals in Syria, saying that the US is concerned with supporting the anti-ISIS campaign, maintaining “basic international norms” through pressing Assad regime, and preserving local peace agreements in Syria.
“What we have not done and what we do not intend to do is to express any support for efforts to normalize relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad,” Anthony Blinken said.
The United Arab Emirates reinstated its embassy in Damascus three years ago. Abu Dhabi revealed earlier in October an effort to boost trade relations with Syria, reinforcing the reestablished ties. When Assad talked with King Abdullah II of Jordan, a major US partner, he significantly overcame his seclusion. Late last month, a major border control between the two states was fully reopened, setting the stage for the dialogue.
Egypt also sent similar signals in UNGA in September. The country’s foreign minister talked with Faisal Mekdad, his Syrian counterpart showing the early stages of another Arab States normalization with Syria. Egypt is also a regional ally for the United States.
Under the “2019 Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act“, United States keeps strict sanctions against key areas of the Syrian economic system. The US does not want rehabilitation funding to flow to the Syrian administration until the achievement of a desirable political consensus.
Arab States Normalization and the US Failure
Syria’s civil war kicked off 10 years ago, when Arab Spring demonstrations swept the nation, prompting security services to react. The revolt quickly devolved into a full-fledged civil war, with insurgent groups and armed organizations like ISIS seizing control of major swaths of the nation.
Thousands over thousands of Syrians lost their lives and millions have been uprooted as a result of the conflict. The Assad administration is accused by opposition campaigns of committing widespread human rights violations.
It was in the first year of the civil war that the US President advocated for Assad’s departure. Barack Obama believed that Assad should “stand aside” to make room for a democratic change in the country.
Numerous Arab politicians have urged the White House to release sanctions against Syria. Republicans members of the US Congress, however, have repeatedly voiced their concern about Arab states normalization of ties with Damascus.
“It is disappointing that some US partners, including members of the Arab League, are losing their resolve to punish Assad by looking to normalize relations,” two high-rank Republicans on the two chambers of the US senate said in a joint statement.
The US is insisting on reaching a solution to the tensions while it seems the tension is nearing an end. The “political solution” the US is seeking is what it desires, not to the satisfaction of the Syrian people.
Blinken made his statements opposing normalization with Syria in a joint press conference with his Emirati counterpart. This is while bin Zayed has been the most outspoken in his support for Assad administration.