By David Andrew Weinberg, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: David Andrew Weinberg is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He previously served as a Democratic professional staff member covering Middle East issues at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The views expressed are his own.
When Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal in Paris this week, he likely got an earful of complaints over Syria. There was no public news conference after their meeting, which makes sense given that the Saudis often prefer that their sensitive consultations with the United States remain hidden behind closed doors. However, Kerry’s announcement earlier in the day of a conference to boost the Syrian opposition was probably intended in part as a sop to the Saudis.
Barely one week earlier, Kerry came out of another meeting with Saud al-Faisal trumpeting that the United States had Saudi Arabia’s support for military action against Syria. This was an understatement. Riyadh was downright aggressive in its push for an American-led intervention after the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials say killed more than 1,400 people in Ghouta, Syria.
The Saudis badly wanted to see a strike on Syria, and they have grown frustrated with America’s fitful diplomacy since then. Recently, they have seemed less willing than usual to submerge their disagreements with Washington from public view. And there is undoubtedly a real sense of urgency to their efforts.
Late last month, the Saudis were the guiding hand behind an Arab League statement hammering the al-Assad regime. However, because that statement deferred to the U.N. Security Council, the Saudis then produced a second Arab League statement on September 1 calling on “the international community” to “take the necessary measures.” Both times, Riyadh sought stronger language, but was stymied by Algeria, Lebanon, and even Egypt.
More from GPS: Obama has lost control over Syria policy
After Russian opposition in August precluded authorization to use force from the U.N. Security Council, Saudi Arabia began collecting votes for a similar proposed bill in the General Assembly instead. Given that the U.N.’s weapon inspectors still had not issued their report – and because such a vote could actually complicate Western efforts – the U.S., Britain, and France implored the Saudis to hold back.
For a short period, it appeared Washington was about to strike Syria. However, when the British parliament voted against participating, President Obama reversed course and put the decision in the hands of Congress. It was at this point that Saud al-Faisal went public with the Kingdom’s grievances. In a remarkably blunt statement, he declared, “we demand that the international community does the action required… to stop the aggression on the Syrian people before they’re exterminated.”
The Saudis are now unabashed about their desire for action against al-Assad. They were one of the few ardent backers of military action at the latest G20 summit. Secretary Kerry recently testified that unspecified Arab states – widely understood to include Saudi Arabia – offered to foot the bill for military intervention in Syria, even up to the level of a ground invasion.
In addition to literally blaming Israel for all of the region’s problems, a Saudi cabinet meeting this month under Crown Prince Salman “renew[ed] the Kingdom’s firm positions toward the crisis” in Syria and “call[ed] on the international community to fulfill its humanitarian responsibilities to save the Syrian people” from “genocide”. Another cabinet meeting this past week called on the international community to “stop the fighting in Syria immediately”.
The Saudis have little sympathy for new potential diversions. Although Saudi officials have gone relatively quiet since Russia’s proposal on chemical weapons derailed U.S. plans to attack Syria, it is obvious they are not pleased.
Speaking in Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain’s foreign minister dismissed Russia’s proposal. Not only does Saudi Arabia dominate the GCC, but it also plays such a prominent role in the GCC force propping up Bahrain’s regime that some observers consider the tiny Gulf country “a confederated province of Saudi Arabia”.
More from GPS: Why water is key to Syria conflict
Another window into Riyadh’s perceptions of the U.S.-Russian effort comes from prominent Saudi commentators. Saudi scholar Khaled al-Dakhil believes recent events prove America and Saudi Arabia fundamentally disagree about almost every aspect of the conflict in Syria: most notably, the Saudis see toppling al-Assad as an urgent strategic imperative but Washington apparently does not. Tariq Alhomayed, a senior journalist who is plugged in with the royal family, writes that the U.S.-Russian deal this weekend is “like buying fish in the sea” because it guarantees little and seems likely to fail.
To be sure, other countries have also advocated for U.S. intervention – notably Israel, Turkey, and France. However, Saudi Arabia’s posture has gone further than these other countries, which appeared to be lending their diplomatic and political support to President Obama rather than pressuring him to act.
The most recent turn of events has got to have many Saudis wondering how much they should rely on America to advance their security interests. Richard LeBaron, a former U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, believes that Saudi Arabia went out on a limb for military intervention in Syria but that, with America’s step back from the precipice, “that limb was unceremoniously chopped off.”
Saudi Arabia has more than one reason for advocating intervention in Syria. To be sure, there is a humanitarian element to Riyadh’s rhetorical fury. But Saudi Arabia is also eager to push back against the excesses of an Iranian-backed regime in the heart of the Levant. Presumably, this is also why Saudi Arabia has been buying up tens of billions of dollars of American military equipment.
But while the Kingdom has stepped up its efforts to arm Syrian insurgents since the alleged massacre at Ghouta, the absence of any Saudi preparations for a direct military intervention of their own should be telling. For the foreseeable future, when push comes to shove, the Saudis still expect us to do their fighting for them.
Since when did Saudi Arabia become the 51st State of the United States? Ans: Its not. Hello Saudis', a US president is only for US citizens. Your votes don't count so stop demanding things from our leaders because American leaders should only cater to American citizens. You are a friend but that doesn't mean your "family."
I agree, but I will go further that in order for real peace in the region and the world, we need to attack Saudi Arabia and liberate the Saudi people who live under a corrupt and undemocratic regime. These self imposed rulers of Saudi Arabia have no place in today's world and I say this as a devout Muslim.
I know most of the misguidance and the mischief in the Muslim world comes from Saudi Arabia, it is the head of the Al Qaeda snake.
They say one thing in public but the officials in the kingdom fully support any Muslim rebellion or Terrorist group from the Taliban to Al Qaeda maybe not directly but there are many who sympathize and donate $millions spreading chaos and anarchy, especially when it comes to battling Iran for supremacy in the Islamic world. Many poor Muslim states have become a battleground for Saudi and Iranian influence, Afghanistan and Pakistan are at the top.
I implore Obama, forget Syria, forget Iran, they are nothing compared to the evil coming out of the Saudi Royal family. If I had posted this in Saudi Arabia, I would have definitely been killed, this should prove what I am writing is true, anyone who has been there can confirm it and the Saudis are American allies? This is why Al Qaeda was born out of hatred for the US because of its support to Israel and the Saudi puppet royal family.
Saudi Arabia, a staunch opponent of Assad, is less convinced of the value of the US-Russian disarmament agreement.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies believe diplomatic efforts were to deflect attention from the main issue.and to strengthen the position of Assad,
This is something we need to hear more often, especially from muslims. The cancer is saudi arabia with the spill over state Pakistan. Both "allies".
I agree as an American, we are too deep in bed with the Saudis and it is a reason America must stop it's dependence on foreign oil and I do believe they would cut your hand off at least for voicing your opinions Syed, which is contradictory to America's policy of freedom of speech and press. Seems America likes to sleep with the enemy or keep them close, but the Saudis wear sheeps clothing very well and continue to fool us.
Other than Israel, what Middle Eastern country has survived with a Democratic regime? When will the West learn Islam is a dictatorial religion. You either obey or you die. Period. Iran just hd elections...except those that wanted to run who were not on the "good little boy list" were not allowed to...was a women allowed to? Oh, but the Republican Guard doesn't like him and could get rid of him. The Ayatollah must approve of what he says or he is toast...maybe literally. The Islamic religion makes these countries 100 years out of date. Only when the state is superior to religious fanatics will there be any semblance of freedom and that can only happen with a dictator.
Ricky, don't be entirely surprised if your sentiment goes viral. When it comes to the Saudis, we're talking big politics, big alliance, big money, with plenty of secrecy and more under the table deals than can be imagined. History should record this relationship as the "Era of Big Oil and Big Handshaking". But has it perhaps now come to an end?
Amongst other things, the Syrian conflict is revealing itself to be ia series of "open mouth insert foot" and reneigh scenarios with Obama, Cameron, and Kerry leading the way. Could the Saudis' piping up and loading up on weaponry be a precursor to America pulling out of the middle east entirely ? There are a number of things that might suggest this.
The overall push has never been one of diplomacy to resolve the real issues and saves lives. Reality and the simple math clearly proves otherwise. One only needs to study and compare all the historical aspects of WWII to the Middle East.
However, America now needs to extract itself from any direct presence/ involvement in order to minimize it's own casualties/expense and then best capitalize on the situation afterwards, as was achieved in WWII.
A WWIII contained to the Middle East would be a win for America, and quite frankly couldn't come at a better time. Of course it is all wrong and really pathetic, but sorry, it's the American way. There is no denying that weaponry and war is America's biggest business and the US taxpayers clearly cannot afford to directly support it any longer. So the push now must be to sell it to others and on a large scale. And to that extent, we need wars..... lots of 'em and the bigger all the better.
Sadly, they have already drug us to war before with BS which our government was a conspirator to. Wikki Nayirah testimony and The Gulf War to catch up on some no so distant past.
we are not attacking anybody, Saudi, Syrian, nobody, nada! If Saudis want to attack Syria themselves at best we will provide them with a map, but of course they have a map and a very extensive foreign mercenary force on their payroll fighting in Syria who is not very effective. Why should we worry about Iranian – Saudi rivalry? They shouldn't have tried to topple Assad in the first place. We are not taking any responsibility for their foreign policy mistakes, we have our own to worry about.
Israel s an apartheid regime. Nothing democratic about it!
Wii ned moar gunz!! Ger republikins!!!!!
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INVASIVE TECHNOLOGIES USED FOR HUMAN MANIPULATION CRIMES.
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REWARD 100,000,000 MILLION DOLLARS TO WHOM THIS CRIMINAL TRAP.
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It is a well known fact that Saudi want to nip Arab democracy in a bud. If democracy start working in major Arab country like Syria or Egypt, it won't be long till oppressed Saudi subjects demand democracy too.. there are currently about 5000 princes and probably 100 000 kinsmen who all want top positions with generous income. Since their percentage in general population is growing, they are squeezing out everyone else.
There is also a much darker story which would be hard to prove beyond doubt. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, nicknamed "Prince of Jihad" have well known connections with Islamic militants and there are tens of thousand web posts articles claiming he supplied chemical weapons used by AlQaida in Syria. However, USA should look into it. It would shatter US credibility beyond repair if US military might is used to help AlQaida and war criminals and destroy one of last secular states in Arab world.
you are right and you only need to wikki him ( Bandar) to learn that. I love the information generation.
Nothing stops the Saudis from "punishing" or attacking Syria. The have a military and all the money needed. The Saudis want to suck in the U.S. and have the U.S. military do their dirty work, while they sit back and watch,, and back stab. To hades with these despots.
Patent submittal nov1
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Reblogged this on Angela Joya.
Hot Topic 6:
OBSESSIONS Criminalistic Let the politicians.
WANT TO SEEM A PROCER?.
Some have this obsession with trying to past events to have any relation to their existence on the planet.
Viewing political cases we have the concept of Hitler's master race and the prevalence for over 2,000 years.
.... And NAZI scientists who developed theories of how the universe is part of the history of humanity on some societies influenced by variables giving them powers that are repeated constantly in the universe NUEVAMENTES A HUMAN WOULD TIME BY THE COMBINATION OF SPACE AND SKYTOP SOCIAL IN COMBINATION WITH MOLECULAR STRUCTURES TO EXIST IN EVEN AFTER THE PLANET OF THE DEAD.
1,000,000 IMAGES OF YEARS YOU BUT EVEN AFTER ANOTHER PLANET.
IN SEARCH OF IMMORTALITY IN ETERNITY.
WHERE THE DEVIL IS IN CHAOS AND MODELS PREDICTABILITY CONCIBE CALCULATIONS FOR DISTNCIAS FORCES THROUGH.
Today publish this information because I have been bursting much organs.
By Juan Carlos Vallejos.
" To be sure, there is a humanitarian element to Riyadh’s rhetorical fury"
Some people posting here have not been taking their meds.
Dear Saudi Princes,
If you want someone to attack Syria, why not do it yourself. We do not wish to bleed money and lives for your political desires. Go do it yourselves.
It seems to me that Saudis need a strong man in their own country to begin with. Their king seem very old and perhaps not very effective either. Someone strong needs to take charge if they want to attain their highly ambitious goals.
Saudi Arabia is clearly one of the main member of "regim change in Syria" project team. Saudi gov. is responsible for breeding, training and paying the exterimist militant wild dogs and as needed unleashing them to attack the targeted country, creating chaos and instability by killing, bombing, public excecutions leading to displacement of many innocent people. Saudi Arabia along with its partners in crime Qatar,Turkey, UAE, Jordan to name a few SHALL BE held accountable for inflicting pain and suffering on Syrian people. Saudi Arabia is a wahabi, totalitarian monarchy system with 0% sign of democracy, 0% women rights, 0% right-to-worship in public other than Islam (i.e. 0 church, 0 synagouge) MAKES it totally unfit to be called U.S. friend; Saudis was one of the only two golf states who recognized Taliban as Afghanistan ruling government, before 911. Despite all of these, U.S. gov. refers to Saudi Arabia as a friend!! This kind of double standard has already damaged our credibility, but we still can repair the damage by moving away from double standard approach and apply our democtratic values equally, fairly and consistently across the spectrum. Peace.
Clearly neither Saudi or Pakistan is a friend of the USA....or pretty much anyone else either....
Glenn Beck, Vladimir Putin react to soldier eating enemy’s heart in Syrian video
JUNE 17,2013 by Cheryl Carpenter Klimek
On Friday, Glenn Beck, the talk show host, spoke about the viral video of a Syrian rebel eating a slain man’s heart, noting it was an occurrence of a Mormon prophecy signaling the end times.
“Towards the very end, one of the last books, it talks about how the enemies that they were up against at that time were into cannibalism and they were eating people as a sign of bravery and courage,” Beck said. “When I saw the video of a soldier in the groups that we are arming, stand on a battlefield and cut the chest open, and take the heart, a beating heart out of a dead body… and eat it and use it as courage, I thought to myself: ‘I know this calendar, I’ve seen this movie before. We are in very dangerous times.’”
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke harshly of the Syrian rebellion, and signaled that Moscow will not soften opposition to Western support of the anti-Assad opposition rebels.
Saying that blood was on the hands of both sides in the Syrian conflict, he mentioned the same video clip of the jihadist rebel leader looking as if to eat the heart of a Syrian soldier.
“I believe you will not deny the fact that one hardly should back those who kill their enemies and, you know, eat their organs and all that is filmed and shot,” Putin said, speaking through an interpreter reported by CNS News.
“Are these the people you want to support? Is it them you want to supply with weapons?” Putin asked. “So, in this case, it has hardly any relation to the communitarian and cultural values that Europe has been professing for centuries. In Russia, we cannot imagine such things happening.”
It’s not a good sign when a conservative talk show host and a Communist Russian president are saying nearly the same thing. But that appears to have happened over the weekend.
Beck disputes that comment in his remarks, saying that it is a practice of the Russian drug lords. Another who sees the conflict going in the wrong direction, is London Mayor Boris Johnson, who expressed his thoughts in a Daily Telegraph op-ed.
"This is not the moment to send more arms,” Johnson wrote. “This is the moment for a total ceasefire, an end to the madness. It is time for the US, Russia, the E.U., Turkey, Iran, Saudi and all the players to convene an intergovernmental conference to try to halt the carnage. We can’t use Syria as an arena for geopolitical point-scoring or muscle-flexing, and we won’t get a ceasefire by pressing weapons into the hands of maniacs.
un who? UN is just 5 member body with veto powers that's it.All the rest of the members are just making up the numbers with no role. End of the day the veto would make decisions.
Israel, Turkey, France and Saudi Arabia can and should handle this one.
Stand back world, here comes the "Coalition of the retarded on training wheels."
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