Following the announcement of the Saudi-Iranian reconciliation, several questions have emerged regarding its specifics, underlying factors, and potential impact on the Middle East and Syria, in particular. The reconciliation occurred between two countries with divergent histories: one being a close ally of Damascus and the other having backed armed groups during the war. Furthermore, this reconciliation coincided with a warming of relations between Arab states and Syria and increasing speculation about Saudi Arabia’s intention to restore ties with Syria.
Estimates suggest that the first countries to benefit from the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement will be Yemen and Iraq, with Syria in second place. The Jerusalem Center for Studies director expressed this sentiment in an article published on Al-Mayadeen Net, stating that “Syria stands to benefit as the second beneficiary of this reconciliation. Saudi Arabia has shown indications of adopting a new approach towards Damascus after the earthquake. After a decade-long hiatus, its planes landed at Damascus and Aleppo airports, delivering aid and relief. It is not inconceivable that the next surprise will be the arrival of the Saudi Foreign Minister’s plane at Damascus airport.”
He added that the door is no longer tightly closed in the way of Syria’s return to the next Arab summit in Riyadh, especially after the expansion of the Arab pilgrimage season to the Syrian capital.
Similarly, the American news channel Alhurra quoted Dr. Abdullah al-Assaf, a political media professor at Imam University, as saying that “the Saudi-Iranian agreement is of significant importance and will have a positive impact on the region as a whole, including the Syrian issue. It is anticipated that there will be some level of understanding regarding the Syrian situation,” and he further added that “in the upcoming phase, meetings may occur between President Bashar al-Assad and Arab leaders, or between Saudi officials.”
According to an article by the Associated Press, “the diplomatic agreement could potentially facilitate Riyadh’s engagement with Syria,” as the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran provides a two-month timeframe for the reopening of embassies and the restoration of relations after seven years of estrangement. The article further notes that this agreement represents a significant shift in Middle East diplomacy, with potential implications for countries such as Yemen and Syria. The conflict in Syria has been exacerbated by tensions between Saudi Arabia, which has supported opposition forces seeking to overthrow the government, and Iran, which has been a key backer of the Syrian state.
Upon the announcement of the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, American reports described the scene as “remarkable.” In contrast, some American media outlets attempted to downplay its significance by suggesting that it was merely a formality and unlikely to have any future. However, two days following the announcement, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan announced the possibility of a meeting between the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers, leading some American media outlets to acknowledge the importance of the agreement, particularly since it was sponsored by China. Therefore, Washington can no longer deny its significance.
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.