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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantThe Middle East Is Preparing for the United States’ Exit From Syria

The Middle East Is Preparing for the United States’ Exit From Syria

Author: Neil Quilliam

Affiliation: Chatham House

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Policy

Date/Place: August 25, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Research Article

Word Count: 1639


Keywords: US exit, Afghanistan, Bashar al-Assad, Caesar Syria, Civilian Protection Act


With the withdrawal session, the Middle East is also anticipating a US exit from Syria where hundreds and thousands of US troops are still serving. The Biden government has indicated that it is eager to look away from Gulf Arab states bracing relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rather than vigorously averting them from doing so. This marks a slight but significant shift in US policy, as signified by the 2019 Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. With Washington showing a lessened appetite for imposing military means to isolate Syria, some Arab countries are starting to bring Syria in from its diplomatic isolation.  In recent months, Gulf Arab states especially, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have extended their commitment with the Syrian government. The Gulf Arab states will endure to pre-position themselves at different strides and in ways that are unswerving with existing sanctions on Syria ahead of a political settlement in the country. The question of when such a settlement comes will depend on the United States. Given Biden’s hard-nosed realism in Afghanistan, it’s easy to imagine the president concluding that US troops in northeast Syria don’t serve US interests. The debacle of the US exit from Kabul and its sheer inhumanity may persuade Biden, however, that reaching a deal with Russia is better than simply walking away and abandoning its allies in Syria.


By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate



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