Foreign Policy Concepts Editorial
The relentless advances by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) against the Islamic State, or ISIS, that have led to the fall of Deir ez-Zor bring into surface an emerging landscape of the Levant. Geopolitically, the new Levant is bound to be starkly different from its pre-civil war condition.
Four key factors contribute to making the new Levant unambiguously different from its former self:
- A renewed and strengthened Iranian presence with the possibility of having its own military bases in Syria;
- An emboldened Russia that is unabashedly projecting power against Saudi-inspired violent Islamists, which Moscow regards among the biggest strategic threats against its national and geostrategic interests;
- The flow of investment from China for Syria’s reconstruction, partly as a reward for Assad’s resistance against the non-existent moderate rebels, many of whom happened to be citizens of China; and partly as a step toward making Syria a node for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI);
- The rise of new geo-energy dynamics involving export of hydrocarbon energy to the European markets.
The world has yet to witness the geopolitical implications of the fall of Syria back to Assad’s hands.