Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

An unusual telephone call! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The telephone call that took place between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Russian president on Syria on Wednesday was not just an unusual telephone call, it was a historic one. The content of the telephone call paid by Russian president [Dmitry Medvedev] to the Saudi monarch served to draw a clear line between those that want to protect the killers of the Syrian people, and those who want to protect the Syrian people themselves.

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, commenting on the viewpoint of the Russian president regarding the situation in Syria, said that “Saudi Arabia can never give up its religious and moral commitment to what is currently taking place in Syria”. This clearly means that the Saudi monarch is telling the Russian president that his standards are not the same as Russia’s. The standards of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Saudi Arabia is based upon religion and morals and respecting international organizations that should take action to protect the oppressed and deter the oppressors, not vice versa. Therefore, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques was very clear when he told Medvedev that “it would have been better if our Russian friends had carried out Arab – Russian coordination before utilizing their veto at the UN Security Council…as any dialogue now about what is happening in Syria is futile.” It is clear that Russia’s intentions with regards to calling for dialogue now is to circumvent the “Friends of Syria” meeting that is taking place today in Tunis, otherwise why did Moscow not take action at this level before? Indeed, why did the Russians not take action on the same day that Medvedev called the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and publicly call on the tyrant of Damascus to stop the killing and lift the siege of Homs, rather than asking for dialogue with the Saudis today? The answer is clear, Russia merely wants to disrupt the “Friends of Syria” meeting.

Therefore what King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz told Medvedev represents a historic position – albeit an unsurprising one – from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who previously took similar historic positions with several US presidents with regards to his support for the Palestinians. It was King Abdullah who invited George W. Bush to watch some videos about Palestine, telling him that since you don’t watch television, here are some videos which will allow you to see what is happening in Palestine! King Abdullah also sent a message to Bush, threatening to cut Saudi – US ties, if Washington failed to take action to protect the Palestinians. The Saudi monarch also told former US president Clinton that “friendship has limits, Mr. President” when Clinton wanted him to adopt a positive attitude towards the Israeli leadership. King Abdullah also stopped the protection of Syria following the assassination of [former Lebanese prime minister] Rafik Hariri, despite the huge implications of this.

He is also the one who, during the Arab Summit in Riyadh, first described the US army in Iraq as an army of occupation. In contrast to this, Russia on Wednesday agreed a two-hour ceasefire in Syria to grant humanitarian assistance to the unarmed Syrian people, in other words Russia is telling al-Assad: kill your people for 22 hours a day, but stop for 2 hours!

This shows the clear difference in the standards of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, and the standards of those who are leading the defense of the killers of children in Syria…therefore, this was undoubtedly a historic and unusual telephone call.