Abdullah, B. & Arbache, Z.A. (2020/2021). How to revive the “Five Seas Strategy”? The Syrian vision. Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly, 2(1), 6-22.
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Based on its cultural heritage and future vision, Syria launched the Five Seas Initiative in 2004, with the intention of improving regional cooperation. This initiative triggered a plethora of new paradigms and terminologies that address several developments expected to influence both the Middle Eastern conflict theater and the international landscape, particularly in the period 2010-2011 After nine years of war that served to undermine the Five Seas Initiative, and upon the failure of the hegemony of global capitalism in its crude forms, it is now time to put forward a real alternative based on common interests between regional and international actors, which would respect regional diversity away from extremism. Since Middle Eastern countries share common problems, proposed solutions to these problems would be more effective if they were formulated and carried out collectively. Ultimately, development is the only way to bring peace to the Middle East, and a lasting solution to shared problems can only be reached within the framework of “Peace Through Development”. The combination of the “Five Seas Strategy” and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) would provide such a solution by reconstructing southwest Asia and creating a network of infrastructures thanks to Syria’s privileged geopolitical position at the intersection of the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Black Sea. Full engagement with this combined strategy seems to be the best way to avoid another wasted decade for the majority of Middle Eastern countries.
Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative, five seas, geopolitics, Middle East, Syria
The Five Seas Strategy: Its Origins and Development in Context