Saudi Arabia was a particularly prominent presence at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, but contrary to expectations, their focus was not on energy but rather geopolitics. The country’s finance and foreign ministers each made announcements with significant consequences for the region.
In early January, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. And a once unthinkable meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Assad is now also in the works. Clearly, 2023 has begun with the momentum for normalizing ties with the Assad regime growing.
The beginning of a new year always provides an opportunity to reflect on the events of the previous year. While 2022 doesn’t have a flagship event that resonates quite like some years in the recent past, it nonetheless featured or foreshadowed a number of trends and developments that will likely have an impact in 2023 and beyond.