Towards regional settlements?


Amer Al Sabaileh

The Astana negotiations seem to have set Syria on the way to solving its crisis. Multiple factors have been working towards this resolution, including a shift in Turkey’s position, the Russo-Turkish alliance and, more recently, the crisis in the Gulf and the rising Qatari-Saudi hostilities. Since the Qataris positioned themselves against Saudi Arabia, armed groups in Syria lost financial and logistical support; at the same time, due to the Qatari-Iranian rapprochement, the Syrian regime and its allies got stronger as Iran, Russia and Hizbollah have been draining the resistance in many areas across Syria.
Jordan, a major neighbour of Syria, also began to reposition as a result of these shifts. Stability in the south of Syria is a primary objective for Jordan, due to the influence it has on its own stability and national security.
In addition to security, from an economic and political perspective, the stabilisation and reopening of the border with Syria is a critical step towards normalising and rebuilding the Syrian state.
In parallel and of equal strategic importance for Jordan are efforts to reengage with Iraq and reopen the border with this Arab country. Broader regional developments created new challenges on this front.Stability and security remain fragile in Iraq, as does Jordan’s ability to build strong political ties. Moreover, the potential for renewed Iraq-Saudi Arabia relations and the possibility of new border openings between them will be distracting, and a higher priority for Iraq.
Given that regime change is no longer the priority in Syria and all key stakeholders have changed their narrative, the resolution of the Syrian problem and outlining a pathway to bring Syria back into the Arab League should become a priority.
Egypt is in the box seat, given that since the weakening of the Muslim Brotherhood there, Egyptian-Syrian relations have been progressively improving.
Saudi Arabia has led the anti-Syria campaign in the region, but now it has cause to reconsider its position.
It is seeking to disengage from conflict and crises in Yemen and Syria as Qatar is getting the upper hand in Syria and Iran is encouraging the wasting of its resources in Yemen.
While Saudi Arabia has been quick to go to war and was capable of building coalitions against shared enemies, the new leadership could very well make the transition from war to peace.
Saudi Arabia has many great challenges to face in the coming years, and needs development and economic growth to face them, but while successfully waging war may have made the crown prince, stability and growth could be the path to becoming king. We may see a regional shift towards peace, social development and economic growth, things the Arab world greatly needs.

— Courtesy: TJT