Upset over the Russia-U.S. agreement over elimination of deadly gases from Syria, and Washington pulling back from war against the Assad regime, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal said in his September 30th remarks to the Friends of Syria group that Saudi Arabia wants “intensification of political, economic and military support to the Syrian opposition … to change the balance of powers on the ground in Syria.”
In essence, the Saudis, Qataris and Turks have already begun the process. Last week, Abdul-Aziz Salamah, the political leader of Liwaa al-Tawhid, a terrorist group operating in northern Syria, announced that 13 of the leading armed opposition organizations inside Syria decided to unite their efforts under an Islamist-jihadist banner as the Islamist Alliance. The Islamist Alliance was established in order to create sharia throughout Syria and to formally reject the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as their legitimate representative. Significantly, the group includes some of the largest ostensible moderates, e.g., Free Syrian Army (FSA) as well as al-Qaeda affiliated organizations.
On Sept. 12, at the Defense and Security Forum in London, Prince Turki Bin Faisal al-Saud, Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research & Islamic Studies and former director general of Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, expressed his anger at the U.S. backing down from attacking Syria. “The Iranian leadership’s support for Assad, from the beginning, is a criminal act and they should be tried in the International Criminal Court. The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help Assad to butcher his people,” the prince ranted.
“The Saudis now feel that the Obama administration is disregarding Saudi concerns over Iran and Syria, and will respond accordingly in ignoring U.S. interests, U.S. wishes, U.S. issues in Syria,” said Mustafa Al Ani, a veteran security analyst with the Geneva-based Gulf Research Center.