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Saud al-Faisal's conditions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I was only too delighted to see Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, in good health in Cairo after he recovered and returned from his recuperation trip. I remember that he once told me “I spend more time in aircrafts than on the ground.” It is such a long and bitter journey; one that is full of experiences, mediations, negotiations, crisis-management, narrowing gaps between viewpoints, drafting political statements and diplomatic formalities. This all is part of Prince Saud’s journey. Therefore, I paused extensively to meditate the statement he issued in Cairo earlier this week regarding the situation in Syria. He said “the major condition for the success of any effort towards the Syrian crisis requires that there is a serious will to put an end to the escalating human disaster there.”

“Serious will” is the major condition in the view of the Saudi Foreign Minister, and I believe that by stressing this he hit the nail on the head.

I was skeptical, but now I am quite certain that, there is no international will to end Bashar al-Assad’s massacres and that international powers have left the situation open to one of three possible scenarios:

1. One side defeats the other.

2. The Alawite sect ends Dr. Bashar al-Assad’s rule after his presence becomes a real burden on it.

3. We see an “international barter” agreement take place, particularly as this is currently being prepared and where the toppling of the al-Assad regime is just one of its articles.

In order to explain this situation, I must highlight a set of international movements in this regard.

Firstly, Moscow has announced that President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation by his Russian counterpart, President Putin, to visit Moscow and conduct negotiations.

To this effect, the press has leaked reports that Obama promised Putin that should he win a second term in office, he would negotiate with him on reaching an agreement regarding the controversial “missile defense” issue.

Here, we can understand a possible barter taking place between Moscow and Washington.

Secondly, the Washington Post recently published a report about the US administration’s desire to conduct negotiations with Tehran over a number of issues, including Iran’s nuclear capabilities, peace in the Middle East, as well as Syria and Hezbollah. These are all issues where negotiations and political bartering may take place.

The situation now indicates that we are in a stage of strengthening the international will, but in accordance with the interests of the superpowers and within the boundaries of a specific price with a specific ceiling. This price does not include any humanitarian considerations or the cessation of bloodshed, but first and foremost “what will you give me? What will I give you in return?” regarding whether al-Assad leaves or stays.

This is why Prince Saud al-Faisal insisted in an eloquent and polite manner – as usual – that there must be a “serious” international will in this regard.