Saleh ِAl-Qallab
Jordanian writer, Former Minister of Information, Minister of Culture and Minister of State. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group

Crisis in the Arab World… And a New Arab Initiative

As is apparent to everyone, the Middle East is undergoing broad dynamic change. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the foremost state in the region and a leader that is closely attuned to the concerns, interests, and challenges facing the Arabs in this changing world, stands at the heart of these changes.

This region has been suffering from instability and war, with several countries becoming conflict zones and enumerable outside parties interfering in its affairs. Unfortunately, these interventions have come at the expense of Arab interests and the sovereignty of Arab countries, and they have resulted in the displacement of millions of people and the resurgence of terrorism and extremism. It is now time for this region to find stability and search for a role for itself in this turbulent world, thereby safeguarding the interests of the Arab people and restoring unity after years of division.

Syria, which continues to be a key link in the long chain of Arab history, has yet to recover from its setbacks. It has been in turmoil, ravaged by conflict and bleeding internally, since 2011. We must end this crisis, reunite the Syrian people, and put an end to this war that continues to destroy a country that used to be a substantial power in the Arab world!

This region will never be stable so long as Syria is plagued by instability. In fact, things will only get worse if the Syria problem is not resolved. A solution must be found if we are to prevent this infection from spreading to all the countries of the region.

Here, we must address a question that has been lingering for a long time: Can we not deal with this important issue after all these years? Do we not have an opportunity to engage with Damascus and contribute to resolving this crisis after all these years?

The broad political overtures led by Saudi Arabia undoubtedly seek to answer this question, restore unity to the Arab nation, and solve the crises that have drained its resources and undermined its stability. This step must be met with positive steps from all the other parties concerned, especially the Syrian government, which must reunite its people and agree on a political framework for ending this civil crisis and addressing its underlying causes.

All eyes are on the upcoming Arab Summit that will be held in Riyadh in May. Indeed, it is expected to, indeed it must, succeed in reuniting the Arab world. The challenges and crises facing Arab countries today are significant, and they require intra-Arab rapprochement and coordination.

It is crucial to note the recent statement made in this regard by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan. “There have been discussions about Syria’s return to the Arab embrace… there is a consensus building in the Arab world, that the status quo is not tenable.”

Meanwhile, we have seen many media reports discussing the reestablishment of consular ties between the two brotherly countries, which is expected to lead to the restoration of diplomatic relations, which have been severed since 2011. Syria’s membership in the Arab League has also been suspended since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution.

The recent moves by Saudi Arabia are part of a broader foreign policy perspective that the Kingdom has adopted. Shortly after Saudi Arabia and Iran concluded the recent agreement mediated by China, Saudi efforts to bring Syria back to the Arab League and normalize the Arab world and the Kingdom’s relations with it were accompanied by a substantial step by Russia. Moscow has been arranging for dialogue and deals between Syria and Türkiye to resolve the disputes between the two countries. This would also strongly contribute to efforts to restore stability in the region and put out many of its fires.

The push by Russia to ensure a rapprochement between Türkiye and Syria has made real progress. Indeed, the foreign ministers of Syria, Türkiye, Iran, and Russia are scheduled to meet on Tuesday in Moscow, where they will discuss the disputes between Syria and Türkiye and make arrangements to resolve them.

The situation in the Arab world today is dangerous. We face a broad array of diverse challenges. New approaches must be taken, and a new consensus must be built if we are to reunite and allow all the Arabs to take back their place in this world that recognizes only the powerful.

The status quo has become untenable. If no solutions to the crises wreaking havoc in several Arab countries are not resolved, we could be looking at a dark future, God forbid.