Syrian President’s Visit to UAE: A New Twist in Middle East Politics

294

Amidst the Ukraine crisis, when the world witnessed a clear and profound division among the world powers and polarization was in construction, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to the United Arab Emirates on 18 March 2022, for the first time since the Syrian civil war began 11 years ago. The United States expressed its deep disappointment and concern over the UAE’s decision to welcome Mr. Assad. The US opposed efforts to normalize relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until the civil war is resolved. However, International relations are often about choosing strategy over ideology. So, the Syrian President’s visit to the UAE is an indication of a shifting paradigm in the region where the UAE is balancing among great powers. Since the conflict raised in Syria for the past eleven years, the UAE and other Gulf states, excluding forces backed by Iran, were keen to oust Bashar al Assad. But the newer form of geopolitics created by the Ukraine war changed the dimension of world politics which has had a grave impact on the regional politics of the Middle East also. The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan made a power vacuum while the regional powers like China and Russia got the chance to fill the void. The withdrawal seems to open up opportunities for the Russian and Chinese leadership to have influence stationed in the region. The conflict in Syria is also directed towards a stalemate, rather the recapturing of many regions by the Assad forces makes things harder for the western powers to have a strong grab in the region. Iran being a friendly state to Russia makes the strategies of the west even fragile. In the midst of all of this, the visit of President Assad and the warm welcome he got, pointed toward a growing influence of the Russian forces in the region since Syria and the UAE both have a great relationship with Russia. [Read the full article from here]