Syria file at the Riyadh summit and competing Arab bets

It is clear that the main title of the upcoming Riyadh summit is to stop the decision to freeze the participation of the Syrian regime in the meetings of the League of Arab States, including the invitation of the head of the regime himself, Bashar al-Assad, to the summit, a trend that caught the attention of many Arab governments, during the meeting of the GCC ministers. Gulf countries with Arab foreign ministers (Jordan, Iraq and Egypt) in Jeddah this month, or even the visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Hamad bin Farhan to Damascus in an attempt to arrange matters in preparation for the expected step.

There are three Arab approaches in this regard. The first approach that Saudi Arabia is leading today is to talk about Assad’s invitation, normalization of relations and turning the page on the differences that occurred since the Arab Spring of 2011. Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of this approach after Algeria was trying to lead it during the last Arab summit there (last year), and other Arab countries follow the same line. The second approach, which rejects this before settling outstanding issues, including the situation in Syria, led by Qatar, whose position was stated by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, saying that the reasons for suspending the participation membership still exist, while the third approach that Jordan framed, years ago, worked He agreed to it through his international and Arab meetings, in what was called “step-by-step” diplomacy, meaning linking the return of Syria to resolving the political crisis there, including dissolving many vital files.

On the first side, there is a Saudi insistence that there be a distinctive title for the upcoming summit in Riyadh, which is the presence of Assad, and this comes in a context related to the Saudi-Iranian agreement, and the “leadership” role that Saudi Arabia seeks to consolidate, as it is capable of framing new Arab positions, which is A role that contrasts with the American and Western positions in general towards the Syrian file, and it seems that there are repeated and successive Saudi messages to the American administration about redrawing new rules for the relationship, especially with the remarkable development in Saudi-Chinese relations.

The Saudi movement is not necessarily separate from the ongoing regional movements, and the attempt of the Arab regional system to redesign its bases, after the violent tremors it was subjected to during the last decade, and the consequent decline in the American role in exchange for the rise of major regional powers, Iran and Turkey, and the emergence of inter-Arab conflicts. On defining the dominant or main forces in the new regional order, and here the question arises not only with regard to stopping the freezing of Syrian membership, but rather about who will stop the decision to freeze, in the sense of the key holder in determining the situation.

On the other hand, the insistence of an official Arab trend not to stop the freezing of membership is related to the continuation of the Syrian crisis and its humanitarian and political disasters, and the continuation of the tragic conditions there, with the displacement and displacement of more people without a political solution, but rather the Syrian regime’s feeling today of superiority, victory and defeat. The bets of the armed opposition and the international and regional bets on it. Therefore, suspending the freeze today means – according to this approach – placing all strings in the hands of the Syrian regime, which has no indications of its intention to find consensual, peaceful political solutions to the crisis, as long as it feels internal victory.

Between the two approaches lies the Jordanian diplomatic approach (step by step), and it is known that Jordan was one of the first countries that worked to find political channels to solve the Syrian problem, years ago, and the initiative was formulated, and an attempt was made to obtain Arab support for it, to find an acceptable path between finding solutions An internal policy that limits the catastrophic humanitarian effects of the crisis, the Arab position, and the Western and American positions, especially since there are UN resolutions regarding sanctions against Syria, including the Caesar Act.

Within the Jordanian approach, which stems from the importance of Syria’s return to the Arab incubator, and from the seriousness of the current vacuum in the Arab regional system, which has weakened the Arab situation and given Israel a strategic space to move forward in ending any hope of resolving the Palestinian issue and completely eliminating the two-state solution, which was what was Notable in Jordan’s positions implicitly rejecting the deal of the century, and publicly relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem, and stressing that any Arab-Israeli normalization must be linked to a solution to the Palestinian issue.

In addition to the previous considerations, there is a consideration that is no less important in building the Jordanian approach, and it is represented by the two files of the Syrian refugees, and the northern borders of the Kingdom. There are more than 600 thousand Syrian refugees in Jordan, which places great economic and humanitarian burdens on Jordan, and there are no clear signs from the regime. Even after taking control of the southern regions, they are being returned, and there are important details in the file that prevent the voluntary return of refugees, without humanitarian, legal and political guarantees, with real international and regional sponsorship.

Today, the secret word does not seem to be the return of the Syrian regime or not, as much as it is related to who leads the new regional Arab official regime, and who has the power to build positions and decisions, or in the pragmatic terms of Westerners: Who delivers And it is a question not to draw the answer with regard to the Syrians, but rather to the Iranians and the Israelis today?!

As for the northern border, it has turned over the past two years into a source of threat to Jordan’s national security, through regional drug-trafficking networks, which constitutes a great military and security burden, with the remarkable presence of what Jordanian politicians call “sectarian militias” linked to Iranian interests.

above this and that; Despite the importance of the Jordanian-Syrian mutual economic interests, any Jordanian steps will not be feasible without approval or agreement with Western countries and the United States on this, because there are laws and penalties that will be imposed on the Jordanian private sector that violates these UN resolutions.

The question now, in light of the acceleration towards Arab normalization with Syria, has this gone beyond the Jordanian initiative and the attempt to develop a road map with the Syrian regime linking any steps in this regard with resolving the internal crisis? And the answer: that despite the repeated meetings and the repeated emphasis by Arab countries on the need to prepare the Syrian internal environment for that stage, the short time remaining at the Riyadh summit may not help except in broad general promises without clear drawn-out procedures, in light of the strong desire of many On the one hand, the Arab countries invited Assad to the upcoming Riyadh summit, and there was no coordination or understanding with the Americans and Westerners on this approach.

Today, the secret word does not seem to be the return of the Syrian regime or not, as much as it is related to who leads the new regional Arab official regime, and who has the power to build positions and decisions, or in the pragmatic terms of Westerners: Who delivers And it is a question not to draw the answer with regard to the Syrians, but rather to the Iranians and the Israelis today?!

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