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Why was Riyadh insistent on keeping the Assad card in its hand before settling down to an agreement on Syria?
If Riyadh were to accept Assad as part of a solution in Syria, the various Salafist groups it has nurtured in Syria and elsewhere would declare autonomy. The hold of money and material which keeps these groups in Riyadh’s sway, would wither away. The volatile internal situation – major oil well in the Eastern province was under attack recently – would spiral out of control.
Saudi Arabia is also riding a tiger in Yemen. For six months the country has been buying weapons from the West and saturating the poorest Arab country with mindless bombardment.
The war in Yemen is looking all the more tragic because the West is no longer buying the allegation that Houthi rebels have Iranian military support.
The destruction of Libya and Syria has recoiled on Europe. The destruction of Yemen will eventually recoil on Saudi Arabia.
There was a silver lining in Saudi King Salman’s visit to the White House: President Obama was able to persuade the King that it was in his interest to see the Iran nuclear deal in a positive light.
This may lead to an Iranian accommodation with Riyadh in Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria.
Assad has already indicated he was willing to talk to the moderate Syrian opposition even before the next elections. After the Iranian deal, Washington will have to revisit the task of putting together a reasonable Syrian opposition – easier said than done.
Saudi Arabia is also riding a tiger in YemenThere has been some speculation on the presence of Russian soldiers and armaments in Syria. Is this presence in the war zone despite the US? Or is it part of the broad understanding reached on May 12? This military presence may serve as a deterrent against countries like Turkey which have had their fingers so badly burnt in the Syrian misadventure that they may be tempted to recover some prestige by striking inside Syria.
Interesting statements have come out from Moscow. We are in the same trench as Cairo, fighting terror. This support for Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is bad news to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Turkey. This, surely, is to Israel’s satisfaction.
With luck, less volatile West Asia may not be unthinkable. Should peace return to Syria, Europe inducting new refugees, may then feel the need to turn to Syrian intelligence to help Europe to sift good refugees from the bad.
- See more at: http://www.thefridaytimes.com/tft/wh....LX8VH6jK.dpuf