The ongoing Syrian-Emirati rapprochement, epitomized most recently by President Assad praising Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed as “humane” for the latter’s pledge of “support and solidarity” to Syria during World War C despite the UAE’s leading role in causing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, proves that the Arab Republic pursues a policy of realpolitik that’s completely at odds with the principles-based one that some of its Alt-Media surrogates previously claimed that it espouses.
Assad Praises MBZ As “Humane” Despite The UAE’s War On Yemen
The Alt-Media Community was taken completely off guard after Al-Masdar reported over the weekend that President Assad praised Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) as “humane” for the latter’s pledge of “support and solidarity” to Syria as it struggles to survive World War C, especially since many of its members have been actively raising awareness of the UAE’s half-decade-long history of carrying out war crimes in Yemen, which has directly contributed to creating what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Syria is a member of the Resistance alongside Iran, Hezbollah, and other affiliated groups such as Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Yemen’s Ansarullah (popularly referred to as the “Houthis” by the Mainstream Media), so it certainly comes off as surprising that its democratically elected and legitimate leader also “vowed to boost ties with the Gulf emirate” despite the UAE jointly leading the war of aggression against the aforementioned Yemeni movement. That said, all of this is only surprising if one really believed the narrative that was promoted by Syria’s pro-government surrogates in the Alt-Media Community over the past years that the country supposedly pursues a principles-based policy, which is arguably debunked by the ongoing Syrian-Emirati rapprochement and shown to have actually been a policy of realpolitik this entire time.
The Relevance Of Russia’s “Balancing” Strategy
The author elaborated more in detail on the trajectory of this trend in his November 2018 analysis about how “The Reopening Of The UAE Embassy Might Signal Syria’s Pivot To The GCC“. To summarize, the main point put forth was that Russia is actively working behind the scenes to broker Syria’s return to the Arab League in order to advance its regional “balancing” strategy in the Mideast whereby the Eurasian Great Power envisages itself working closely with non-traditional partners such as the GCC and “Israel” in order to “balance” Iran. So as to “encourage” Syria to go along with its grand strategy in spite of the speculation that some of its leadership might be suspicious of this vision, Russia has refused to shoulder full responsibility for the country’s economic recovery so that it’s naturally compelled to “diversify” its sources of support instead, as explained by the author in his piece from April 2019 asking “Why Isn’t Oil-Rich Russia Helping Its Syrian ‘Ally’ Survive The Fuel Crisis?” Agha Hussain, an independent researcher based in Rawalpindi who specializes in Middle Eastern affairs and history, published an informative article in January of this year about how “Wealthy Gulf States Plan to Spend Big to Coax Syria Away from Iran“, which supports the author’s original prediction.
Will Syria Return To the Arab League?
Increasingly desperate to reduce its planned dependence on Russia, the relationship of which the latter was always reluctant from the get-go to enter into and thus never established like Damascus wanted, Syria had no choice but to look elsewhere for support, ergo its ongoing rapprochement with the UAE. Syrian writer and political analyst Ghassan Yousef believes that the country could leverage its influence over neighboring Saudi Arabia and nearby Egypt in order to facilitate Syria’s return to the Arab League that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said last November was a “long overdue” move which would become “an integral part of the final settlement of the Syrian crisis” upon its realization. The top Russian diplomat’s proposal was preceded by the UAE and its Saudi & Bahraini allies condemning regional rival Turkey the month prior for what they described as its “aggression” in Northeastern Syria, with the Emirates’ Foreign Ministry reaffirming the “UAE’s firm stance and rejection of all that affects the sovereignty of Arab national security”. This invocation of (pan-)”Arab national security” is an intriguing infowar tactic that the author first described in his December 2017 analysis about how “The UAE Is Helping America By Propagating A Warped Form Of Arab Nationalism“.
Abu Dhabi Endorses Assad
The GCC nowadays considers Turkey and that country’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood to nearly be equal to the same threat that they regard Iran as posing, so it naturally follows that they’d throw their diplomatic weight behind Syria after Ankara’s military advances along its northern border region. Realizing that “Russia’s Reshaping Syria’s ‘Deep State’ In Its Own Image” in order to erode Iran’s long-standing influence in the Arab Republic, and acknowledging the fact that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is a shadow of its former self after nearly a decade of Hybrid Warso it therefore no longer poses any credible threat to the GCC and Russia’s joint “Israeli” ally for the indefinite future, Emirati charge d’affaires to Damascus Abdul-Hakim Naimi declared in December during an event marking the UAE’s National Day that “I hope that safety, security and stability in the Syrian Arab Republic will prevail under the shadow of the wise leadership of Dr. Bashar al-Assad.” The UAE’s support of the Syrian leader deepened (possibly by Russian design) after Presidents Putin and Erdogan reached their latest ceasefire deal in Idlib, which de-facto further entrenched Turkey’s military presence in the Arab Republic and thus gave a boost to the UAE’s efforts to “rehabilitate” President Assad under the banner of “Arab Nationalism”.
International Relations are all about interests, not principles, and those states which claim to be driven by principles are more often than not presenting themselves as such in order to take advantage of the anticipated soft power benefits of doing so which in turn ultimately advance their interests in one way or another. The Alt-Media dogma that the movements, leaders, and/or states that one supports are “always doing the right thing” is debunked by President Assad praising MBZ as “humane” for his pledged “support and solidarity” during World War C despite the Emirati Crown Prince being responsible for carrying out war crimes in Yemen, especially those targeting supporters and members of the Ansarullah, which is a fellow Resistance member. If Syria really practiced a principles-based policy, then its democratically elected and legitimate leader would never praise anything that MBZ does as “humane”, but the fact of the matter is that the Arab Republic has practiced a policy of realpolitik this entire time despite what some of the country’s Alt-Media surrogates have claimed over the years. This isn’t to make any value judgement whatsoever, but simply to point out an undeniable fact that should hopefully help observers better predict Syrian policy going forward.
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This article was originally published on OneWorld.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image is from OneWorld