Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Arabia has done it so what about the rest of you? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia has cut off all ties with those procrastinating, stalling, and even conspiring against the Syrian people and their revolution, and all those attempting to support the tyrant of Damascus, Bashar al-Assad. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal announced the withdrawal of Saudi observers from Syria, and called upon the international, Arab and Islamic communities to exercise all possible pressure to stop the shed of “precious” Syrian blood.

Saud al-Faisal did not only speak, but also took practical and effective steps, when today he received the Syrian opposition delegation led by Mr. Burhan Ghalioun. It was interesting that this meeting was being held at the same time as the Arab ministerial committee on Syria was convening, and this simply means that Prince al-Faisal has decided to put an end to the Arab procrastination being carried out through the Arab League. He has decided that Saudi Arabia will exercise its leading role in the Arab and Islamic world, in order to protect the Syrians. Likewise, al-Faisal meeting with the Syrian opposition is tantamount to tearing up the report of al-Dabi’s monitoring team, which seems to be answering to Bashar al-Assad, not the Arab League! How depressing are the statements attributed to al-Dabi’s team, saying that it is unhappy with the Arab media. I wish his team could tell us what really happened in Syria yesterday, let alone throughout the duration of the entire Syrian revolution, where it has been common, for example, for the al-Assad regime to open fire on funeral processions!

Therefore, this commanding and responsible Saudi position now requires further important and practical steps. The first is to be aware that al-Dabi’s report means that there is no hope for the Arab League, and this is what I have said before many times. In fact, the role of the Arab League in the coming days will become even more negative, especially when the presidency of the League is subject to its members such as the government of Nuri al-Maliki, and if we were to sit and wait for an Arab solution, this would only serve as a lifeline for Bashar al-Assad. This is very dangerous, especially if we recall Iranian statements confirming that Iraq lies within the region of Iranian influence. Thus what is required now is to immediately form a new regional alliance to handle the Syrian issue, comprising of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, joined by Turkey and those Arab states keen to protect the Syrian blood that is “precious to everyone” – as expressed by Prince Saud al-Faisal, under the slogan “Friends of Syria”, along the lines of what was done in Libya. Willing countries from the international community are also invited, especially as there are those who want to disrupt the plan to resort to the Security Council. This effectively means, of course, the end of the Arab committee for Syria’s mission, because it will go down as a failure.

Of course, the other Gulf States today must take the same step as Prince Saud al-Faisal, and initiate a meeting with the Syrian opposition and Burhan Ghalioun in public. It is not enough to hold clandestine meetings with the opposition, whilst Hezbollah, for example, openly champions al-Assad and sends its fighters to Syria, and the Arabs, particularly in the Gulf, are hesitant in their support for the Syrian people!

Therefore, the state of affairs today dictates: Saudi Arabia has done it, what about the rest of the Arabs? Do they want to protect the Syrian people or kill them?