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Major Regional Rearrangements in Syria: Regional Impact of Saudi-Iranian Rapprochement

After years of being isolated in the region, Syria is receiving a warm welcome back into the Arab world, according to Athr Press.
Major Regional Rearrangements in Syria: Regional Impact of Saudi-Iranian Rapprochement

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, and his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, held a historic meeting on Thursday in Beijing. It marked the first official meeting between the two sides since 2014 and was a result of the recent rapprochement efforts facilitated by China.

In a joint statement, the Saudi and Iranian officials announced that they would reopen diplomatic missions within two months, as per the China-brokered agreement signed in March. The two countries also discussed resuming flights and facilitating visits by official and private sector delegations, as well as easing visa procedures for citizens.

This meeting represents a significant step towards the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two nations and is expected to have a positive impact on regional stability and cooperation.

Who is Stopping Arab Normalization with Assad?

Following the signing of the Saudi-Iranian agreement in March, which was brokered by China, U.S. assessments have indicated that this move has disrupted the status quo in the region and altered various calculations. Reports in Hebrew suggest that this agreement has the potential to redefine regional alliances and adversaries, and could have global ramifications.  

Following the meeting of the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran in China on Thursday, recent European and American reports have highlighted the potential consequences of this diplomatic breakthrough. Many view this agreement as a significant diplomatic victory for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who seeks to establish himself as a global statesman and peacemaker, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the United States has attempted to downplay any suggestion that this agreement brokered by Beijing undermines its influence in the Middle East. However, the US has been marginalized in subsequent regional negotiations, including Russian-mediated talks between Saudi Arabia and Syria.  

After years of being isolated in the region, Syria appears to receive a warm welcome back into the Arab world. In the coming weeks, the Saudi Foreign Minister is expected to travel to Damascus to extend a formal invitation to President Assad to attend the Arab League summit, which is scheduled to take place in Riyadh in May.  

An analytical report recently published by the American think tank “Reciprocative Statecraft” focused on the Israeli perspective on the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. The report stated that the news of this diplomatic deal reportedly took Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu by surprise, as it coincided with the country’s internal political tensions. The report added that the Israelis view the Saudi-Iranian agreement as a major strategic setback and quoted former US diplomat Feryal Saeed, who said: “Iran is Israel’s main security challenge. They thought they were building a strong anti-Iranian alliance in the region, and now Iran’s strongest Arab rival, which is the backbone of any regional alliance to counter Tehran, is shaking hands with Iran before normalizing relations with Israel.”  

Experts and analysts agree that Syria is among the first countries to benefit from the recent Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. An analytical report published in the Jerusalem Post has already indicated that “the Arab-Syrian rapprochement is rapidly gaining momentum following the Saudi-Iranian agreement.”

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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