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Middle East prepares for the US to exit Syria


The Arab world has taken note of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and is starting to wonder whether Syria, with several hundred US troops, will be next.

The Biden administration has already given indications it is willing to look away from Gulf Arab states reviving relations with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad rather than actively prevent them from doing so. This marks a slight but significant shift in US policy, as represented by the 2019 Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act.

With Washington showing a diminished appetite for enforcing Syria’s isolation – including through military means – some Arab countries are starting to bring Syria in from its diplomatic isolation.

In recent months, Gulf Arab states – notably, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia – have deepened their engagement with the Syrian government, though to varying degrees and in pursuit of different goals. Kuwait and Qatar, on the other hand, continue to show no interest in doing so.

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