(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia, a staunch opponent of President Bashar al-Assad since early in Syria’s conflict, began supplying anti-aircraft missiles to rebels “on a small scale” about two months ago, a Gulf source said on Monday.
Bakr, Amena. “Saudi supplying missiles to Syria rebels: Gulf source.” Reuters, June 17, 2013.
For those who value stability in the middle east, the least honest and most ruthless appear to be winning.
As the above quote suggests, Big Sunni Money plus the cultivation across many years of strategic and trade relationships in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States have put King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia not only into the fight in Syria but remarkably behind the NATO wheel.
Of course, this recent news (surfacing in the news) isn’t news at all to the businesses and states involved in Syria’s civil war, and it should be apparent to all onlookers that this double-track, double-story business of telling the public one story while facilitating another in private has brought us to the brink of a NATO vs. Russia confrontation in which Russia may now present a devilish gambit: better Assad and the continuing misery to be imposed by the dictatorship than the expansion of either Al Qaeda or Wahhabi Islam and the certain diminishing of nascent democracy, human dignity, and secular values in Syria accompanied by the heightening of tensions in Lebanon and,somewhere in the future, with Israel and the Jewish People.
To offset that impression, King Abdullah may have to back up the money with some combination of reassuring mouth and evidence of cultural and social evolution toward the contemporary in the Kingdom, certain injunctions of the Quran either notwithstanding or interpreted or aligned with a more free and liberal and greater western world.
For the moment, if Iran’s nuclear program and global ambitions are the true target of the conflict in Syria, then the conflict and the human suffering plus political confusion driven by it, have yet some months to years to go.
In fact, the focusing of issues in the Syrian theater of a great portion of the drivers of the Islamic Small Wars — i.e., rivalries of various sort: Al Qaeda and Wahhabi Islam; Sunni and Shiite Islam; democracy, secular dictatorship and theocracy; Iranian and Saudi Arabian competition for greater spheres of influence; even Putin’s possible issues with aggrandizement, control, and wealth on one hand and his own humanity, moderation, and strength in restraint on the other– bodes ill for constituents — worldwide — whose concerns may be more with family, security, and employment scaled down to a common denominator in the common humanity than with the triumph of a king or an ayatollah.
It has been said that with the onset of war, nobody wins, and nowhere else across the killing fields of the Islamic Small Wars does that cynical sentiment seem more likely to be proven true than in Syria this day.
Al Arabiya. “Saudi King Abdullah cuts holiday short due to ‘events in the region’.” June 15, 2013.
Chulov, Martin. “Threat of sectarian war grows in Syria as jihadists get anti-aircraft missiles.” The Guardian, June 15, 2013.
Deasy, Kristin. “Al Qaeda in Iraq defies global leader over relationship with Syria’s Al Nusra: Reports.” Global Post, June 15, 2013.
Henderson, Simon. “Bahrain Rounds Up Organizers of Antigovernment Violence.” Policy Alert, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, June 14, 2013:
Initially emulating uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, the protests quickly divided along sectarian lines, pitting members of the majority Shiite population against the Sunni ruling family’s security forces. Since then, February 14 members have apparently engaged in near-nightly clashes with police, resulting in more than 100 dead and 2,000 injured among civilians and security personnel.
Osborn, Andrew and Amena Bakr. “Putin, Obama face off over Syria; rebels get Saudi missiles.” Reuters, June 17, 2013.
Reuters. “Russia says it will not allow Syria no-fly zones.” June 17, 2013.
Starr, Barbara, Holly Yan, Chelsea J. Carter. “Analyst: Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria now best-equipped of the group.” CNN, June 17, 2013.
Wintour, Patrick. “Syria: Putin backs Assad and berates west over proposal to arm rebels.” The Guardian, June 16, 2013.