Syria Readmitted to the Arab League

Bashar Assad may be here to stay.

In an emergency meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on May 7, the Arab League voted to readmit Syria into the organization. Syria was suspended from the group in 2011 following the outset of the Syrian civil war. The actions of Syrian President Bashar Assad—which include dumping chemical weapons on his own people—made him a pariah worldwide. But as of 2023, it looks like Assad is here to stay.

The 22-member Arab League includes every Arab state from Mauritania to Oman. The organization doesn’t have significant political power (unlike the European Union), but as the global mouthpiece of the collective Arab world, its judgments and decisions carry a lot of weight.

Why now? In the early 2010s, it looked like the revolutionaries would oust Assad. That never happened. Most governments in the Arab world see the current strategy with Assad is not working. The new strategy is to work with him. “All the stages of the Syrian crisis have proven there is no military solution to it and there are no winners and losers,” said Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shokuri.

Not everybody is happy: Some states, like Qatar and Jordan, support anti-Assad rebels. Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister Ayman al-Safadi said that reaccepting Syria into the league would start “a very long and difficult process.” But the May 7 decision is a small start that could lead to greater breakthroughs.

Syria, for its part, has made some concessions. Assad agreed to let Syrian refugees in Jordan return home. He also agreed to help neighboring nations combat drug smuggling from Syria.

Whose side is Assad on? Assad has relied on Iran extensively over the years to keep his regime afloat. A visit last week by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Damascus shows Iran still supports Assad. But Syria’s normalization with the rest of the world has been spearheaded by an unexpected actor: Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is one of Iran’s biggest competitors in the region and was one of Assad’s most vocal critics. But in recent months, Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for reintegration of Syria into the Arab diplomatic fold. Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently warming relations. But if relations between the two were to rupture in the future, Assad might be forced to choose sides. Saudi Arabia has enough diplomatic influence and spare cash to take Syria away from Iran.

What the Bible says: A prophecy in Psalm 83 records an end-time alliance of Middle Eastern peoples. The purpose of this alliance is to make sure “the name of Israel … be no more in remembrance” (verse 4). The members of this alliance are “[t]he tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot” (verses 6-8).

These ancient names do not make much sense unless one knows their modern descendants. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote the following in the September 2012 Trumpet issue:

You must know who the modern descendants of these peoples are in order to understand just how timely and relevant this prophecy is: “Edom” is Turkey; “the Ishmaelites” are Saudi Arabia; “Moab” and “Ammon” both refer to Jordan; “Gebal” is Lebanon. The Hagarenes anciently dwelt in the land known today as Syria. The only one listed here that lies outside the region is “Assur,” which is Germany. Germany is the power behind this alliance! …

Right now, Bashar Assad’s Syria is closely allied with Iran—but this prophecy shows that these two nations are about to split. This will have a domino effect on other nations. These events will really shake this world and dramatically alter the course of history!

How this split will happen remains to be seen. But the reintegration of Syria into the Arab League could play a major role. To learn more, read Mr. Flurry’s article “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.”