A panel discussion on the spillovers of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria
A panel discussion on the spillovers of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, as well as the regional and international reactions, and the future scenarios, was organized by the Council on the16th of the current month of January. This panel discussion which was opened by Ambassador Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council; was moderated by Ambassador Ihab Wahba, Coordinator of the Permanent Committee of the Arab Affairs, with the participation of a number of ambassadors, experts and academics, namely: Their Excellencies, Ambassadors/ Abdel Raouf Al-Reedi, Honorary Chairman of the Council, Sayed Abu Zaid, Ezzat Saad, Mohammad Tawfiq, Mohamed Mustafa Kamal, Mohammed Badr El-Din Zayed, Prof.Dr. Mohammed Al-Saeed Idris, and Prof.Dr. Ahmed Youssef Ahmed.
A number of points and focal themes were discussed during the meeting as follows:
– The reasons behind the US withdrawal from Syria, and the domestic as well as the international reactions to such decision.
– US withdrawal from Syria is considered to be a fatal blow against the Kurds, particularly under the Turkish threats of occupying Northern Syria, and the talk about restoration of relations between the Syrian regime and the Kurds in order to face Turkish threats, as well as another talk about a US-Turkish deal to set up a buffer zone in Northern Syria on the borders with Turkey.
– Highlighting the Russian expansion in Syria as the starting point and the real chance for the return of Russia to play a bigger role in the Middle East region.
– Contradictory statements from the United States (US) by announcing an unconditional withdrawal, and then the Assistant to the US President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) making another statement that the withdrawal shall take 4 or 5 months.
– The Iranian role; particularly, as Tehran is the main beneficiary of this withdrawal, and the Israeli role, in the aftermath of the withdrawal, as well.
– What role do the Arab States have amid after these developments, particularly that some of them have begun opening their embassies in Damascus as did the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, in addition to the truth about Arab support to Syria’s return to the Arab League.
– Egypt’s role in crisis faced by the region, particularly as there is a need for adopting a suitable and strong position by Egypt in order to reunify the Arabs through the following:
– The necessity to adopt a clear position on the Syrian crisis, particularly as Egypt has preserved its relation with the Syrian regime and rejected military intervention in Syria by Gulf States; thus laying a responsibility on Egypt’s side to launch an initiative for resolution.
– Egypt’s complete rejection to what is being said about an “Arab Nato” which would include Israel as part of it, particularly, as Egypt, since the Fifties of the previous century, had refused to be a part of any military alliances led by a western power in the Arab region. Egypt must maintain its current policy based on its commitment to protect the national security of Gulf States whenever there are direct threats. The dialogue with Iran, not getting dragged into any polarizations in the Arab region or any initiatives aiming at luring the region to form alliances against Iran that would escalate the situation with it, must be thought of.
– More attention must be given to the Palestinian issue; that is not a charity from the Arab states; particularly as the Palestinian issue to Egypt is a matter of Egyptian and Arab national security, and getting dragged into developing more relations with Israel must be avoided as coordinating with Israel does not mean ignoring the idea of Israel being an enemy and that it has never been an ally but it is the main source of threat to the national security of the Arabs and the Egyptians.