The awful reality of pragmatic politics… Re-admitting Syria into the Arab League.

The awful reality of pragmatic politics.

Syria is to be re-admitted into the critically important regional economic and political block that is the Arab League. The Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad, has systematically ruined their country, killing an unknown number of his own citizens – conservatively estimated to be half a million people… 13.5 million Syrians are either internally or externally displaced, with again a conservative estimate of six and a half million of these refugees, forced to flee the country…

And yet after 12 years of brutal and brutalising war, the Arab League, under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, have decided to re admit Syria. The subtleties of geopolitics are important here: the League has reasoned under Saudi leadership, that the readmission of Syria will help to leverage it away from external influence, notably that exercised by Russia. It will also temper the regional influence of Iran and Turkey. Hopefully and more importantly from an institutional capacity building perspective, it will open the doors to regional aid and economic and humanitarian support. On top of this are the huge numbers of refugees in neighbouring countries, notably Lebanon and Jordan, adding significant domestic pressures onto these countries. Particularly in the case of Lebanon, itself a broken state, this burden has been too much to bear.

Much is it truly pains me to say, this might actually be the smart move. I also do not feel that it is untoward the Saudi administration has ignored the immediate reaction of both Britain and the US. It’s fine to moralise, from several thousand miles away, whilst making no material difference to the devastation on the ground. Obama lost the West its right to claim the high ground, when it refused to act, despite claiming the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” the Assad regime should not cross. The regime, of course, crossed this line and the west did nothing… Occasionally in order to feed the hostages of the wolf, you have to invite the wolf out of the cave in the first place…


Author: Damian Merciar

Damian Merciar is Managing Director of Merciar Business Consulting,, a niche business economics consultancy founded in 1998. He has over twenty years experience in the areas of commercial Business Strategy. He is experienced in the transition environments of nationalized to private sector state utilities and the senior practice of commercial management, advisorial consultancy, and implementation. He has carried out policy advisory work for government ministries and been an adviser to institutional bodies proposing changes to government. He holds an MSc Economics from the University of Surrey’s leading Economics department and an MBA from the University of Kent. Also attending the leading University in the Middle East, studying International Relations and Language, for which he won a competitive international scholarship, and has a BA (Hons) in Economic History and Political Economy from the University of Portsmouth. He is currently based in London.

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