Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hosted Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister in Damascus on Tuesday in the latest sign that Riyadh is ready to normalize diplomatic relations with Syria, which have been suspended since 2012.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan’s trip to Damascus marked the first high-level Saudi visit to Syria since 2011 when Riyadh threw its support behind the failed regime change effort against Assad.
The visit comes as Saudi Arabia is looking to bring Syria back into the Arab League. In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said bin Farhan’s trip showed Riyadh’s desire to find a solution to the conflict in Syria that would “Arab identity, and return it to its Arab surroundings.”
Also on Tuesday, Syria’s foreign minister visited Tunisia on a trip to restore diplomatic ties with the African country, which also severed relations with Damascus in 2012.
The Saudis are facing some resistance among other Arab nations in its push to bring Assad out of isolation, including Qatar, Morrocco, and Kuwait, and the US is opposed to the idea, but Riyadh seems determined to follow through. Bin Farhan’s visit came after Syria’s foreign minister traveled to Damascus for the first time since 2011.
CIA Director William Burns recently visited Riyadh and told the Saudis that the US was “blindsided” by their steps to upgrade ties with Damascus and normalize with Iran. The US prefers to keep Syria isolated and under crippling economic sanctions, but more and more regional countries are accepting that Assad isn’t going anywhere.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Arab countries were looking to work out a normalization deal with Assad that would involve Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other US allies lobbying for an end to Western sanctions on Syria.
5 thoughts on “Syria’s Assad Meets Saudi FM in Damascus”
The US doesn’t have much experience in how to win friends and influence enemies.
And Jordan and Lebanon, next?
We need to keep our nose out of this. This is a good sign.
March 2007: Saudi Arabia and the Arab league offered Israel peace and normal relations not just with the Palestinians but with all twenty-two members of th Arab League. In return, Israel would have to withdraw from all of the Occupied Territories and the Golan Heights, accept the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Ehud Olmert showed little interest in the Arab League initiative. (The Israel Lobby, by John Mearsheimer)
The US will oppose and Saudi Arabia/Syria will further turn to China finance the rebuilding.
China is becoming a big player in the area:
Sinopec Wins Equity Stake in Qatar’s North Field East LNG Expansion
Sinopec becomes the first Asian equity holder in the NFE expansion after having signed a 27-year sales and purchase agreement with Qatar, the longest term in the industry. https://jpt.spe.org/sinopec-wins-equity-stake-in-qatars-north-field-east-lng-expansion
After Saudi-Iran detente, China says ready to facilitate Israel-Palestine peace https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/18/After-Saudi-Iran-detente-China-says-ready-to-facilitate-Israel-Palestine-peace
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