The future of the region is still up for grabs. It will be up to those who believe in democracy and progress to seize it.
The carpet rolled out to Bashar al-Assad by the Arab League in Jeddah this week opens a grim new chapter in a darkening world. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced by the Assad regime's horrific war crimes, yet here he is being welcomed with open arms.
More than a decade after the Arab Spring, the promise of bringing new and more accountable political forces into power to sweep away long-serving and corrupt despots appears lost. Authoritarian regimes across the region have reasserted their control and sent a clear message: no change will be brooked and the existing political orders will endure come what may.
What is most striking now is the solidarity of these regimes and their willingness to put aside past differences in favour of realpolitik. They no longer see benefit in proxy conflicts, and instead are willing to prioritize cooperation against efforts for reform in the region.
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