The Middle East has seen significant geopolitical changes in the past few days, particularly with regard to the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad has begun to reintegrate into the Arab fold, marking a significant shift from the years of isolation following the civil war outbreak. In Yemen, there are indications that a more permanent ceasefire may be possible, which would bring an end to the suffering of the country’s impoverished population.
These developments may be linked to the recent thaw in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Last month, the two countries made a surprise announcement in Beijing, indicating a willingness to improve their relationship. Since both countries hold considerable influence in the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts, better relations could potentially stabilize the situation in these and other Middle Eastern hotspots.
The article notes that Syria and Yemen have endured years of suffering due to external manipulation and internal conflicts. In 2011, during the Arab Spring, the West and Arab states took advantage of the anti-Assad popular movement, which further exacerbated the civil war and enabled extremist militants to join the fight against the Syrian president. However, with the help of Iranian and Russian military intervention, the Damascus regime survived. The recent overtures to Syria from its Arab neighbours indicate that the regime change strategy has failed, and Damascus may soon be reintegrated within the Arab bloc.
In Yemen, the pro-Iran Houthis overthrew the Saudi-allied government, prompting Riyadh’s intervention in 2015. Despite Western logistical support, the Saudis were unable to defeat the Houthis, leading to a desire to end the costly and bloody war. This may explain the recent prisoner exchange between the Houthis and the Yemeni administration.
Overall, these developments offer hope that durable peace may be possible in Syria and Yemen. The people of these war-torn states have suffered enough, and it is time for them to rebuild their lives. The improved relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as the kingdom’s efforts to mend fences with the Palestinian political and resistance group Hamas, could have a positive impact on stabilizing the region as a whole.