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5 Ways Saudi Arabia’s Normalization with Syria is Bad for American Foreign Policy

In this photo released by the official Syrian state news agency SANA, Syrian soldiers unload humanitarian aid sent from Saudi Arabia following a devastating earthquake, at the airport in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. (SANA via AP)
In this photo released by the official Syrian state news agency SANA, Syrian soldiers unload humanitarian aid sent from Saudi Arabia following a devastating earthquake, at the airport in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. (SANA via AP)

1. Aids Islamic Terrorist Groups

Following the Syrian Civil War, the United States and its allies have enacted strict economic sanctions against the Assad regime, preventing Assad from sponsoring Islamic terrorist fighters against the US and Iran’s regime from sending military aid to support the Syrian president. With the latest announcement by Saudi Arabia to invite Assad to the Persian Gulf Arab state and normalize relations with Damascus, the move provides new morale for Islamic terrorist groups in Syria, like the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in Damascus, who are seeking new avenues for economic funds to support their activities against American forces in Syria. The potential new ties between Syria and the wealthy Gulf Arab oil state will allow Assad to prop up his regime for the foreseeable future, allowing the government of Syria to send aid to Iran, which will transfer to Islamic terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other parts of the Middle East against American forces. The invitation is also a morale boost for Islamic terrorist groups in Syria who, for years, were routed by American coalition forces but now can make a comeback thanks to this latest move by one of America's most critical Arab allies in the Middle East.

2. Boost to Russia and Iran

With Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran being the top two supporters of the Assad regime, the latest action by Saudi Arabia to potentially normalize ties with Iran provides both anti-American regimes with new influence in the Middle East and potential economic support for their governments. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Putin has relied on Iran and Syria for aid in his war effort while facing international sanctions from America and Europe. With Saudi Arabia inviting Assad for new economic ties, Syria can send more financial and military aid to Putin and his war effort, undercutting the West's unified campaign against Moscow. After the signing of the normalized agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia last month, Tehran has been anxious to get Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with its terrorist proxies and allies, including Syria, granting the Ayatollahs more influence in the Middle East and potential economic benefits to support the regime against America and Israel. One financial transaction that could come from new normalized relations between Syria and Iran is oil production, allowing the Assad regime to sell oil in the international market and funnel the revenue to Ayatollahs and Putin's inner circle.

3. Decrease in American-Arab Relations

Following the normalization agreement brokered by China between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ayatollahs have been seeking to undermine America's influence in the Arab world through its terrorist proxies and allies. Since the 2011 Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War that occurred against the Iranian-backed Assad regime, the Syrian government in Damascus has been making overtures to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other Arab nations, hoping to overcome American scrutiny and normalize its status in the Middle East and the world. When Assad used chemical weapons against his own people in 2013, the US made clear to his Arab allies that Syrian relations had to cease to cripple the regime in Damascus; however, since then, Syria has managed to continue talks with its Arab counterparts without any repercussions from the US. With Saudi Arabia making peace with Tehran, the invitation for the Assad regime opens up new opportunities for Assad to keep his government alive and stable thanks to potential economic cooperation. With the Biden administration not forcefully acting against Syria and Iran in the past several years, the Syrian government sees the cold shoulder between Riyadh and Washington as a way to circumvent international pressure and increase its power and influence among its Arab neighbors.

4. Undermines the Abraham Accords

After the Trump administration brokered a peace agreement between Israel, the United Arba Emirates (UAE), Morocco, and Bahrain, many hoped that other Arab nations like Saudi Arabia would join and normalize relations against the Jewish state to deter the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria, and Iranian-backed terrorist groups. With the invitation by Saudi Arabia to invite Assad and normalize relations, the latest move prevents any chance of normalized relations between Israel and additional Arab states, based on Syrian deterrence. Since its founding in 1948 to today, the Syrian government under the Assad family has never agreed to normalize relations with the Jewish state and instead used to smuggle weapons to Iranian-backed terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip to commit terror attacks against America's most reliable ally in the region. Should Saudi Arabia normalize ties with Assad and engage in economic and military cooperation, America and Israel would have difficulty turning Riyadh to stand against Iran and its allies, given that the Saudi government's trust in the US has decreased significantly for several months.

5. Diminishes American Strength

Since World War II and the end of the Cold War, many viewed the US as the most significant global force, benefiting nations with economic prosperity, freedom, and security against rogue regimes and terrorist organizations that sought to engulf the world in tyranny. Following September 11, the Iraq War, the 2014 invasion of Crimea, the 2021 pullout of Afghanistan, and the war in Ukraine, America's role as a powerful military force has dwindled, with many countries viewing the US as an unreliable ally and a paper tiger. Today, countries like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and other anti-American regimes have taken advantage of the past recent actions, propping up their allies and preventing themselves from falling internally and domestically. Experts are calling this latest invitation by Saudi Arabia to Syria another blow to America's diplomatic relations with one of its most critical allies in the Middle East needed to combat Islamic terrorism and keep the international economy alive with energy resources. While the Biden administration continues to say that the US remains strong in the international community, the actions the administration has enacted against Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Israel, and other allies have led anti-American regimes to take over in places where America's influence once remained strong.

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