Creating new perspectives since 2009

On Syria’s return

April 18, 2023 at 8:51 am

People wave Syrian national flags and pictures of President Bashar al-Assad, at the Umayyad Square in the centre of the capital Damascus on June 11, 2020 [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images]

The return of Syria to the Arab League has become a matter of time and the agreement of the parties to end the Syrian crisis is closer than ever.

Of course, the return of Syria cannot be separated from the developments taking place in the region in general, and these developments will have effects on the future of the region and on the overlapping relations in it. Perhaps the most important feature of this overlap is coexistence between all parties, regardless of the real political orientations and the nature of other relations that bind each party. In other words, this refers to the occupation state and the relations of some states with it, or what is known as the Arab normalisation that took place over two years ago, and which will not be eliminated with any Arab-Arab or Arab-Iranian reconciliation. Instead, everyone will coexist with everyone else.

It has been years since the Arab estrangement with Syria and the removal of the Syrian regime from the Arab institutions under the pretext of a lack of legitimacy and the loss of the right to representation given the civil war. Other parties have claimed their right to represent the Syrian people. There has been years of torture, suffering, destruction and ruins, while millions of Syrians were displaced and forced out to other countries as refugees. Syria was divided, fragmented and torn apart and it suffered greatly. This was a great and painful price. It is unwise to dwell on the past because we are no longer living it and we cannot change it, but we needed to have a quick review of the past in order to draw the lessons and address the future challenges.

READ: GCC holds consultative meeting to discuss Syria return to Arab League

We know that some were seeking to tear Syria apart by removing it from the Arab system as soon as the problems occurred.

But a member state should not have been expelled and have its membership suspended because there is someone who wants to seize power.

Some influential Arab countries believed that the removal of Syria and the attempt to replace the Assad regime with representatives of the opposition, was a step towards establishing the removal of Assad from the international system and thus overthrowing his legitimacy. Insistence on doing so was part of the war that targeted the unity of Syria and the Syrian people, as well as the nature of its government. Those who believe that such interventions could bring democracy, human rights and equality were sorely mistaken.

Of course, no one is holding anyone accountable now, and there will be no harsh review of all the cruelty against the Syrian people, the matter will go unnoticed. The question of societal reconciliation will remain because, without a reconciliation that guarantees the rights and security of all victims after the end of the war, there is no basis for any future stability.

The issue is no longer just a political or representative struggle, nor a war between regional parties, but rather a society that must be rebuilt in order to be able to establish a state for all.

In fact, something deeper must happen related to all this history of turmoil in the Arab region, which happened after the Tunisian Bouazizi set himself on fire, and then the Zine El Abidine regime was overthrown, and it snowballed until it reached many Arab capitals. Some Arab countries suffered and eventually escaped fragmentation, while others fell victim to it. Sudan is no longer a united Sudan, while the civilian regime in it was overthrown for a military regime, which is not yet stable. Libya is no longer a united Libya nor is Syria, the subject of this article.

READ: Arab states rule political solution is only way to end Syria crisis, pushing back against rapprochement with Assad

By reviewing the state of the Arab countries, we realise that very few of them have completely escaped the repercussions of the Arab Spring.

Syria will return to the Arab League and some internal Arab reconciliations will take place, the most difficult of which will definitely be the Algerian-Moroccan reconciliation.

However, Israel will remain friends with some and the investments of some in Israel will grow along with trade and economic exchange, while weapons sales may grow. It is a time of coexistence and contradiction without the need for conflict.

This is not a new Arab case, because the Arabs have nothing else to offer.

This article first appeared in Arabic on 16 April 2023 in Al-Ayyam.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.