Gulf states and Egypt are working to restore Syria’s membership in the Arab League in 2019, the Guardian reported on December 26 citing diplomatic sources. The sources predicted that President Bashar al-Assad will be welcomed on a stage to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and Egypt’s President, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi once again.
In response to this development, Washington is reportedly pressuring both Riyadh and Cairo to hold off on demanding a vote from the league’s 20 other members.
Syria’s membership in the Arab League was frozen in November of 2011 after the failure of the Arab initiative to stop the war in the country. Back then, many local observers said that the step was taken after pressure from the U.S. and Western countries.
Earlier this month, Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, became the first Arab leader to visit Syria and meet with Assad since the outbreak of the Syrian war. Later, Head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, paid an official visit to Egypt upon an invitation from Abbas Kamel, director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.
Both visits were likely a part of the ongoing efforts to restore the Syrian relations with other regional states. After failing to shift Damascus policies with force, Arab countries may hope that providing the war torn country with political and economic support may drive it away from Tehran.