With the exception of a limited number of members of the House and Senate, there have been no official American comments on the visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to China and the holding of the Chinese-Syrian summit, which included the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping of a strategic partnership with Syria.
In its political commentary, the Lebanese Al Binaa Newspaper described the announcement of the Syrian-Chinese strategic partnership as a slap to the US regime which it is unable to comprehend its magnitude.
It is worth noting that the White House, the US State Department, the US National Security Council, and the US Department of Defense all, within one day, issued statements condemning Arab openness to Syria when Arab foreign ministers decided to restore Syria’s seat (at the Arab League) to the Syrian state and subsequently invited President Assad to participate in the Jeddah summit.
Is the reason that just the Arab opening is a source of concern for Washington, while a strategic partnership between China and Syria means nothing to America?
It is certain that the United States’s interest in Syria is a priority, as Washington, which withdrew its forces from Afghanistan, is determined to keep them in Syria. Syria is the only country in the world where American forces are stationed outside of bases agreed upon with the legitimate government.
Syria, which is subject to severe economic and trade sanctions, prompted Washington to entice Turkey with a lot to reconsider its position towards reconciliation with the Syrian government, while Washington exerted intense pressure on Gulf countries to refrain from translating the political opening into economic steps. Washington itself tolerated the non-compliance of Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries, Turkey, and Egypt with sanctions on Russia, despite the importance of these sanctions in shaping the future of the war in Ukraine according to the American view.
In contrast, when we talk about the importance of Syria, there is no need to describe China and its financial and economic power, and its possession of the Belt and Road Initiative, which represents China’s strategic project on the international stage.
Choosing Syria as a base for strategic partnership is a direct threat to the sanctions regime through the adoption of trade exchange in national currencies. It is a message to accelerate Syrian-Iraqi integration, as it is a link in the Belt and Road Initiative. It is also a message to accelerate Syrian-Turkish reconciliation, as the success of the cross-border trade route through the two countries is conditional on the purification of the political climate between them, and ensuring security across their border areas.
It is also a message to Gulf countries and their companies to follow Chinese companies toward Syria. All of this means thwarting what Washington has been striving for.
The American silence is not a disregard for what happened, but rather the height of confusion and the inability to comprehend the magnitude of the slap.
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