In 2011, when the CIA waged a regime change war in Syria and hijacked popular demands for political and economic reforms, Saudi Arabia led Arabic efforts to isolate Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad and expelled the country from the Arab League.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies in the Gulf armed, trained and supported different Islamist armed groups that were fighting President Assad, one of which was Jaysh al-Islam or Islam’s Army which wanted to overthrow the secular Assad government and build an “Islamic state” in based on Sharia.
However, after years of proxy war, Saudi Arabia realized the goal of regime change is far-fetched and changed its policy in late 2018, especially after the defeat of Jaysh al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta.
Nowadays, Saudi Arabia pursues a pragmatic policy toward Syria and MBS is now leading diplomatic efforts, alongside the UAE to re-integrate Damascus with its Arabic neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud paid a visit to Damascus and met with President Assad. Observers believe the meeting was overall positive and the reconciliation between Syria and Saudi Arabia will bring peace and stability to the war-torn country.
Kevork Almassian is an award-winning political commentator from Syria. He is the founder of Syriana Analysis and is known for his contribution to the literature on the Syrian war.