Has Kuwait’s Position on Normalization with the Syrian Regime Changed?

Prime Minister Hussein Arnous and Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad extended congratulations to their Kuwaiti counterparts upon the formation of the new government.

The devastating earthquake that struck northern Syria and southern Turkey nearly a year ago played a pivotal diplomatic role in repositioning the Syrian regime within the Arab world. Following the earthquake, the regime swiftly re-entered the Arab League under Saudi auspices, re-establishing broader ties with Iran and Russia, both influential players in Syria’s political, military, and security landscape.

Despite these diplomatic maneuvers, the Syrian regime faces challenges in normalizing relations with Arab nations, including Kuwait. Over a decade after Kuwait severed ties due to the regime’s crimes against Syrians since 2011, coupled with a lack of behavioural change, the regime is actively seeking normalization. However, the economic benefits expected from its return to the Arab League have not materialized, with a severe collapse in the economy and the Syrian pound depreciating against the U.S. dollar.

Despite economic setbacks, the regime persists in forging new ties with Arab countries, viewing them as essential for international rehabilitation. This pursuit persists even as concerns arise about the regime’s involvement in the production of Captagon, particularly in areas under direct Iranian supervision. Additionally, ongoing incursions into the Kingdom of Jordan and Arab Gulf countries, including Kuwait, raise regional tensions.

The Arab Liaison Committee, established in Cairo last August, has failed to catalyze significant developments in the purported “Arab openness to Damascus.” Key issues, such as the return of refugees, curbing drug and Captagon smuggling, and advancing political solutions, remain unresolved, underscoring the complexity of re-engaging with the Syrian regime on regional and international fronts.    

Congratulatory messages wrapped in begging 

While the Syrian regime seems to be attempting reconciliation or seeking normalization with Kuwait, Prime Minister Hussein Arnous and Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad extended congratulations to their Kuwaiti counterparts upon the formation of the new government.

On Monday, the Syrian regime’s embassy in Kuwait shared two separate tweets on the X website. The first tweet announced Prime Minister Hussein Arnous’s congratulatory message to Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem on his appointment as the Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait.

In the second tweet, it was noted that Foreign Minister Mekdad congratulated the newly appointed Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Abdullah Ali al-Yahya, on assuming the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the State of Kuwait.

However, it is worth noting that the statements from the Kuwaiti Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reference or acknowledge the Syrian regime’s congratulations.

 

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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