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Arab League’s Tunisia Summit Focusing on Golan Heights

Arab leaders are meeting in Tunis for the 30th Arab League summit, with a focus on US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Israeli sovereignty over that part of the Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 war and later annexed. Many countries in the Arab world harshly condemned Trump’s move, and the summit will likely reaffirm the international consensus that the region is occupied Syrian land. The reaction of Gulf states has been critical but muted, most likely in order to maintain good relations with Washington, given its pressure campaign against their regional rival, Iran. Readmitting Syria to the Arab League is not on the agenda, although there is certain to be discussion of the matter on the sidelines. Syria was expelled by the group in 2011, largely after President Bashar al-Assad began using a heavy hand against those taking part in a nationwide uprising that eventually turned into a full-blown civil war. Because Assad has largely defeated the rebellion, ties with individual Arab states have warmed, with the United Arab Emirates reopening its Damascus embassy in December. Other Arab nations are expected to follow.

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