What the UAE meeting with Syria’s Assad tells us about changing Middle East power dynamics

The UAE – voraciously practical when it comes to its national interests – has long wanted to normalise relations, writes Bel Trew

Sunday 14 November 2021 14:10
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<p>The UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, left, talking with Syrian president Bashar-al Assad </p>

The UAE’s Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, left, talking with Syrian president Bashar-al Assad

I ​think few would disagree that Syria’s ill-fated hope of revolution is over and President Bashar al-Assad has won.

That victory is a miserable and bloody one. Half the population of the war-blasted country is displaced, more than are 300,000 dead, and an unprecedented financial crisis is pushing families into unthinkable poverty which together with record drought and pollution is raising the spectre of famine.

The country itself is carved into areas of foreign influence, with Turkey, the US, Russia and Iran all holding their corners. But still. Assad has won.

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