Have the Saudis finally realized their blunder in Syria?

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Shawwal 16, 1436 2015-08-02

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

What the Najdi Bedouins ensconced in Riyadh had set out to do--regime change in Damascus--has come to haunt them. Think of digging a hole for others and falling into it. The Saudis have been forced by circumstances to appear to change their policy of supporting the takfiri terrorists for regime change in Syria because the group poses far greater threat to Saudi regime itself.

Sunday August 2, 2015, 19:53 DST

The overriding obsession of tyrannies in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) for survival forces them make unexpected and dramatic changes in their behavior. But what appears to be underway in the medieval kingdom of Saudi Arabia is nothing short of breathtaking.

This is best illustrated by the Najdi Bedouins’ reported change of heart over the disaster they have got themselves into in Syria. They have apparently been made to realize their folly through the personal intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He convinced the Saudis that they have got themselves into a hole by propping up the Takfiri terrorists known as Daesh in the region but also referred to as ISIL/ISIS.

During his visit to Moscow on June 19, Saudi Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman was received by told by Putin who told him that Syrian President Bashar al Asad was here to stay and that Daesh posed a far greater threat to the House of Saud’s perilous existence.

It appears Putin was able to knock some sense into the young inexperienced Saudi Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince who owes his positions entirely to the fact that his father Salman is the king of the Desert Kingdom. The gist of Putin’s conversation with Muhammad bin Salman was revealed by Ghassan Kadi on July 31 and carried in Beirut’s al-Akhbar newspaper on July 31, 2015. It was also carried by the blogpost: http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2015/07/breaking-news-breaks-saudi-plans.html

Putin skillfully educated the young Saudi prince on the radically changed reality in the region following the Iran-P5+1 agreement and that there was no military solution to the Syrian conflict. Further, that Geneva-III or Moscow-III were no longer options on the table.

The Russian president then advised his young Saudi guest about the idea of Syria and Saudi Arabia, Russia and Turkey and Jordan to cooperate in their fight against terrorism. Muhammad bin Salman’s visit to Moscow was a signal that the desert kingdom could no longer rely on the US and was looking for protection from Russia. Putin, the former Russian spy, knew all this and used the opportunity to work out the modalities of an agreement whereby Syrian and Saudi officials would meet.

The idea was so breathtaking that on June 29 when Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallam visited Moscow and Putin gave him the details, Muallam said it would “require a miracle”. The miracle, however, did happen. In mid-July, Russia’s deputy intelligence chief arrived in Damascus and flew with the Syrian chief of the office of Home Security, General Ali Mamluk to Riyadh.

General Mamluk was received by Muhammad bin Salman in the presence of Saudi intelligence chief Saleh al-Humaidan. Crescent International has been informed by inside sources in Damascus that the Saudi deputy Crown Prince admitted to the Syrian visitor that the king did not support the kingdom’s Syria policy and that it was crafted by “ignorant people”, referring to the now-dead king Abdullah.

Muhammad bin Salman also admitted that Saudi Arabia controlled Daesh and would be willing to pull them out of Syria under “certain conditions”. The young Saudi prince then said: “We have a small request: remove Hizbullah from Syria.” This was clearly an admission that with Hizbullah’s support, the Syrian army has been able to turn the tide of battle that a few weeks ago appeared to be going against Bashar al Asad’s army.

Ibn Salman is also reported to have told the Syrian general that they had heard the Syrian war was managed by an Iranian general and not Bashar al Asad to which General Mamluk replied: “Iran has been helping us not just for the last 3 or 4 years but for more than 20 years.”

Given their failures on multiple fronts—in Yemen, Syria and the successful Iran-P5+1 agreement—the Saudis appear finally to have come to their senses. Would this lead to real change in their Syria policy is difficult to predict at this time but what is revealing is that soon after General Ali Mamluk’s visit to Riyadh, a delegation from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Damascus indicating that it wanted to open its embassy in the Syrian capital.

Miracles, it seems, do happen but they first require knocking some sense into the sand grain-sized brains of the Saudi “royal”.


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