The Christian Science Monitor

Rebuilding Syria: Why Arabs and the West are on a collision course

The United States and its Arab allies are on a collision course over the reconstruction of Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by Russia and Iran, has emerged the victor in a devastating civil war.

With lucrative contracts on the line, Gulf states are lobbying Washington and Brussels to loosen sanctions and not ensnare Arab companies and investors looking to rebuild their neighbor.

But more is at stake than fat contracts: Arab officials and lawmakers argue that Syria’s reconstruction is the last best chance to limit Iranian influence in Syria and reintegrate Damascus into the Arab world.

While much of the Arab world, the US, and Europe sided with anti-Assad rebel forces in the civil war, the Arabs are moving ahead of their Western allies in being willing to turn the page, even as the West continues to impose sanctions on the Assad regime,

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