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Reengaging Assad: What's Behind Arab Outreach to Syria?
Several Gulf Arab countries that backed the opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and broke relations with Syria during the uprising that began in 2011 are beginning to mend fences with the Syrian government. The United Arab Emirates has reopened its embassy in Damascus and a senior Saudi intelligence official reportedly visited the Syrian capital recently as well. Other moves are underway to try to bring Syria back into the Arab League and Arab fold under the same regime despite its culpability in killing, torture, and displacement affecting much of the population.

Why is this happening now? What do Gulf countries hope to achieve in Syria, and how? How far can this process go under Assad? What accounts for different perspectives among Gulf countries, and what does that say about a common Gulf Cooperation Council position toward the region? What will the U.S. position toward Assad be under the Biden administration? How does this affect Gulf relations with crucial external powers heavily engaged in Syria, including Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Israel? And what are the pitfalls of, and alternatives to, such reengagement?

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Jul 22, 2021 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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