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Saudi Loyalty to Syria is Potent Signal to US

Saudi Crown Prince shakes hands with Syrian President at Arab League.

Arab readmitted Syria to the Arab League, It seems to send a message to Washington about who controls the region.

His enthusiastic welcome of President Bashar al-Assad at the Arab summit, which included kissing  his cheeks and a warm embrace, defied American opposition to Syria’s re-entry and marked the end of a turnabout in the prince’s fortunes brought on by geopolitical circumstances.

The prince has now emerged as a figure that Washington can neither ignore nor repudiate, but must engage with on a transactional basis. The prince has shunned by Western powers following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad.

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Abdulaziz-al-Sager, from Gulf Research Centre, described the conference as “a strong indication to America that ‘we’re redefining and redesigning our ties without you’.”

Sager continued, “He does not receive whatever he expects from the other side,” pointing out that Riyadh’s approach to regional security was the basis for Saudi Arabia’s agreements with its adversaries in the region.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia continues to rely strategically on the US, who prevented an attack by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1990, keeps an eye on Iranian military action , and supplies Riyadh with the majority of its arsenal.

However, MBS is pursuing his own regional policy with less apparent consideration to the opinions of his most powerful ally since Washington seems to be less involved in the Middle East and less sympathetic to Riyadh’s concerns.

When Western countries turned to Saudi Arabia to help stabilize an oil market that had  destabilized by the conflict in Ukraine, MBS’ position improved last year. It gave MBS the chance to start a diplomatic drive with high-profile summit engagements.

 

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