Syria's return to the Arab League after its decade-long exclusion can be regarded as a sub-plot of the China-brokered rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But then, China and Iran are not per se party to the process.
Syria's return to the Arab League is seen as an Arab initiative, but it is quintessentially a project Riyadh steered through in close consultation and coordination with Damascus, ignoring some murmur by a clutch of Arab States and patently in defiance of Washington's trenchant opposition.
Against the backdrop of the epochal struggle for a new world order characterised by multipolarity and resistance to Western hegemony, Russia and China quietly encouraged Riyadh to move in such a direction.
A riveting thing about the decision taken by the foreign ministers of the seven Arab League nations at the meeting in Cairo on Sunday is its sweet timing. For, this is the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Ba'ath Party in Damascus in 1943, which espoused an ideology of Arab nationalist and anti-imperialist interests that have lately re-appeared in the geopolitics of West Asia.
Syria has a tradition of strategic autonomy. Through the past decade, it was preoccupied with fighting off the US-sponsored regime change project, with help from Russia and Iran. As it turns the corner and is stabilising, Syria's strategic autonomy will be increasingly in evidence. This is one thing.
However, the strategic relations with Russia and Iran will continue to remain special and there should be no misconceptions on that score. But Syria is capable of ingenuity and diplomatic acumen to create space for itself to manoeuvre, as geopolitics takes a back seat and Assad prioritises stabilisation and reconstruction of the economy, which requires regional cooperation.