The Syrian crisis lit the fuse of a new Cold War, which being regional in scope soon took on an international dimension. The signs of this scenario were clearly visible to begin with and soon became manifest for the whole world.
The Syrian regime, supported by Russia and Iran’s militias, has used all its ground, air and naval forces and internationally prohibited weapons, like chemical weapons, to restore territories. In 2017, the Trump administration reacted to Assad’s use of chemical weapons and in 2018, the US, along with France and Britain, also reacted to another similar incident. Given all these complexities in the Syrian situation, there is one significant topic that has given rise to a discussion and which is: Can Iran be comfortably allowed to expand and move from Tehran to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea?
Under the term of the previous US administration, Saudi Arabia expressed its full preparedness for being part of an international military coalition that protects Syria's unity and blocks Iranian expansion into the territory of Arab countries — Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. This offer is extant to this day. Meanwhile, there are conflicting signs emanating from Washington over the stationing of US troops in eastern Syria and complications caused by Turkey’s new colonial ambitions. In all cases, it’s become the world’s practical duty to abort Iran’s expansionist ambitions.
It has been established that Egypt has reservations towards Syria and the future of the political regime there as the prospect of its military intervention may cause another crisis. It’s thus best to think about a role that Egypt can play there away from any historical calculations.
The prospects of a promising future for the region are thanks to the efforts of some states and their mindful leaders who know what should be done. People have the right to be proud and to flaunt the actions of their leaders and their visions and approaches. Saudi Arabia and its powerful allies in the region are skillfully managing crises with the outmost political professionalism, diplomatic acumen and military rigor. Therefore, there is a growing Arab role in preserving Arab interests and protecting Arab people.
In spite of the small victories achieved by the Assad regime on the ground using the armed forces that are fighting and killing people, the regime has lost its political legitimacy and has no support for leading Syria into the future. Even its allies will have to abandon it upon initiating any serious negotiations when a satisfactory political solution matures and completes.
The presence of this Arab military coalition east of the Euphrates is justified by the fact that all regional players have illegally deployed their forces in the Syrian territory. The Turkish imperialist forces are present there alongside Iran’s terrorist and sectarian militias that were brought from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Lebanese terrorist militia Hezbollah is also present there. In addition, the estranged terrorist fighters of Al-Nusra Front and ISIS are still present in Syria. Although ISIS has been defeated, it’s not completely eliminated yet and it can rise again if there is leniency. It is thus in the best interest of Arab countries and the Syrian people that the Arab military coalition is present on the ground, because this coalition is what will represent a sincere friend to the Syrian people.
Finally, the Arab military coalition in the east of the Euphrates can cooperate with the international coalition to fight ISIS and work with the US and French forces on the ground. A regime which has lost all legitimacy and which has been a criminal against its own people and which brought all invaders and colonials into the country does not have the right to have an opinion in this matter.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.
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