Ten years after the outbreak of the civil war and the beginning of its international isolation, Syria is experiencing a normalization momentum. Syrian ministers and officials have resumed participating in bilateral meetings with their regional counterparts, and Damascus has been included in the talks on Lebanon’s energy crisis. Furthermore, in the past months, a series of symbolic gestures proved that many Arab leaders are now ready to re-engage with Syria.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed insights on the most significant developments in the MENA region, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we focus on Syria, recently at the core of a renewed interest by neighbouring Arab states, willing to re-establish diplomatic ties with the Assad regime.
Twenty years have passed since the 9/11 attacks — an event that had wide-ranging implications from different perspectives: on policy-makers’ decisions in domestic and foreign policy; on collective imaginary and on society; and, not last, on the very jihadi movement and its evolution.
In conversation with
Paolo Magri, Executive Vice President, ISPI
Julien Barnes-Dacey, Director, Middle East and North Africa programme, ECFR
Some of Iraq’s most powerful Iran-backed paramilitary groups running the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) have shown strong interest over the course of 2020 and 2021 in re-modulating their relationship with Iran as more autonomous actors.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed insights on the most significant developments in the MENA region, bringing together unique opinions on the topic and reliable foresight on future scenarios. Today, we focus on Syria, which holds a controversial presidential election on May 26th, denounced by human rights groups and Western governments alike as a farce with a foregone conclusion.
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Today, Syria will have a presidential election, but what role would Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons, and the diaspora play in this process? To begin with, the conditions to hold free and fair elections in Syria currently do not exist. There are several logistical, constitutional, and security impediments that do not allow for displaced Syrians to neither vote freely, nor run for office. The basic requirements for elections as defined in the Geneva Communiqué and Security Council Resolution 2254 do not exist and have not been discussed yet.
Turkey has changed its Syria strategy as frequently as other warring parties have changed their tactics. Nonetheless, after a year of stalemate in Idlib against the Assad regime and several years of inconclusive adversarial policies against the Kurdish-led administration, Ankara faces the pressure of another strategy change. It can come in two ways: either as a shift in attitude towards the Kurdish administration or one towards the regime.
The day was March 15 when a group of young Syrians, probably fascinated and stirred by their North African neighbours’ courage, took to the streets of Daraa the “cradle of Syria’s uprising”, which eventually spread to the cities of Banias, Homs, and Damascus. Chanting “God, Syria and freedom only”, they protested against the dire economic situation, the regime’s brutality as well as state corruption and military apparatus.
After 10 years of war in Syria, sanctions have yet to achieve their purpose: a change in the behavior of the Syrian establishment. Syria is no longer bleeding out of control, but still has many open, sensitive wounds which have raised difficult moral and practical challenges for the countries issuing sanctions.
As the Arab Spring unfolded in the Middle East region back in 2011, Iran expressed its encouragement for the uprisings, naming them “Islamic Awakenings”. However, as the protests reached Damascus, Tehran offered its unwavering support to its longtime ally, the Assad regime.
While the “refugee crisis” in Europe and other western societies has often made the headlines, the vast majority of nearly seven million Syrian refugees still remain in neighboring countries including Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. The legal status and the diverse financial capacity of these refugees often determine and impacts the decision-making processes decisive of their faith. In this article, I will first discuss the living conditions of these refugees, still living in the countries neighboring Syria.