The Arab world is witnessing a new direction. More than a decade after being thrown out for its brutal repression of pro-democracy protests Syria is back in the influential Arab League. The move is further evidence of a thaw in relations between Damascus and other Arab governments. Syria’s re-admittance comes ahead of a summit in Saudi Arabia later this month that President Bashar al-Assad may now attend.
Arab League while readmitting Syria stressed the need to end the civil war and the resulting refugee and drug smuggling crises. Growing poverty and lack of job opportunities saw many turn to the drug trade. A committee involving Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq will be set up to help Syria achieve those goals. Roughly half of the pre-war population of 21 million has been displaced, either within Syria or as refugees abroad. Mr Assad began to regain control over the country in 2015, with the help of Russia – forcing its neighbours to think of a future with Mr Assad in place.
Arab moves to restore ties accelerated after the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria in February. Earlier this week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Mr Assad – with some analysts suggesting the visit put extra pressure on Arab nations to bring Syria back into the fold. Hopefully the re-induction of Syria into Arab League will lead to peace in the country and region.