[Marxism] Saudis want Assad with a Sunni prime minister?

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Mon Feb 24 07:48:05 MST 2014


So it seems all that 'radical' Saudi spat with Washington's peace with 
Assad was about ... getting a Sunni pm under Assad? Only thing wrong in 
this below is the assumption that the Islamic Front in Syria is even 
remotely likely to play along with this; the idea that it is some kind 
of Saudi front has no connection to reality. The article, from the Saudi 
mouthpiece al-Arabiya, is merely expressing their hope, given the 
reality that none of the outside states involved have any forces or 
puppets on the ground and can only manoeuvre from the outside:

(clip):

Nayef is perfectly suited for the Syrian portfolio. For one, he, just 
like Saudi Minister of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Prince Miteb, 
was never a supporter of interfering in Syria. The Saudi Interior 
Minister is well respected by the United States, and within the Kingdom, 
and is well liked by fellow Saudi princes and tribes. ...

But there are other issues at play in understanding the new stage. The 
Saudis, according to Arab sources, are facing a threat of the 15,000 
radicalized and violent Saudis in Syria and 7,000 in Iraq. The king’s 
royal decree issued in early February imposing tough prison sentences 
(most up to dozens of years in prison) on any Saudi national who 
“participates in hostilities outside of the Kingdom in any way” 
explicitly criminalizes fighting abroad, and was aimed squarely at those 
sympathizing with extremist rebel groups in Syria. ....

The two countries also see that Syrian President al-Assad is not going 
to capitulate anytime soon so the two countries—including other key Arab 
states—see summer elections occurring in Syria.
In other words, the Saudis see Assad ultimately becoming the Queen of 
England while the prime minister, whoever that will be—most likely a 
Sunni—will hold real power; a scenario the Saudi’s were originally 
seeking in the first place. The country will become a type of 
confessional state and will seek to eradicate al-Qaeda completely.
Clearly, America and Saudi Arabia now agree that Assad will not be 
deposed. In fact, the Saudi official media no longer issues bitter 
condemnations of the Syrian president like it did a few months ago. ....

The process in play is stabilizing Syria jointly and internationally, 
finding unity and rebuilding the Syrian state in a new manner. Finally, 
President Obama will argue that the biggest threat is the jihadists and 
that American-Saudi cooperation on this issue is the most important 
point of all.

Saudi Arabia and the U.S. to cooperate on Syria
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Text size A A A
Dr. Theodore Karasik

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/2014/02/23/Saudi-Arabia-offers-U-S-solutions-over-Syria.html

The complaining by Saudi officials over the past months seems to have 
paid off. The Obama administration is moving to patch up differences 
between the two countries.

A little over a month before the one-day summit between the U.S. 
President and Saudi King Abdullah, there is optimism. The visit of Saudi 
Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef’s to Washington is setting into 
play a new understanding on the Syrian situation.

Significantly, King Abdullah put Mohammed bin Nayef in charge of the 
Syrian file, a move that makes Washington policymakers relieved. 
Simultaneously, the Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh praised 
the Interior Minister’s role in “relief of Syrian people, support for 
their cause, alleviation of their sufferings.” This religious 
endorsement is extraordinarily significant.
Nayef a good fit

Nayef is perfectly suited for the Syrian portfolio. For one, he, just 
like Saudi Minister of the Saudi Arabian National Guard Prince Miteb, 
was never a supporter of interfering in Syria. The Saudi Interior 
Minister is well respected by the United States, and within the Kingdom, 
and is well liked by fellow Saudi princes and tribes.

Most importantly is Nayef’s successful de-radicalization program meant 
to convert violent extremists to peaceful, pious individuals.

The program, already successful in the kingdom, is now a foreign policy 
mechanism and has a militarized component.
The Saudi program to organize, train, and equip moderate fighters 
through the Islamic Front is significant given Nayef’s expertise in 
de-radicalization. The future of anti-Assad fighters in the Islamic 
Front, and others who seek to join the rebels, will possibly be vetted 
and monitored for jihadist tendencies and rhetoric.

According to The Washington Post, the meetings in the U.S. capital was 
also attended by intelligence chiefs from Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and 
other countries that have been supporting the rebels. Sources said these 
countries agreed to coordinate their aid so that it goes directly to 
moderate fighters.

    But what Nayef is trying to do with the Americans is set the stage 
for a Geneva III. His new mandate opens up this possibility. And Obama 
wants the Saudis on board in order to achieve Syrian opposition cohesion 
and transfer of the Geneva talks to Damascus itself.
    Dr. Theodore Karasik

His Highness also set up the agenda of the March Summit to discuss Syria 
but also to explain face to face the kingdom’s viewpoints on Iran, the 
Gulf Cooperation Council, and Egypt. His argument, according to 
interlocutors, is that Riyadh’s actions, such as with Egyptian Field 
Marshal al-Sisi, are aimed at stopping the chaos that will ultimately 
affect America.

But there are other issues at play in understanding the new stage. The 
Saudis, according to Arab sources, are facing a threat of the 15,000 
radicalized and violent Saudis in Syria and 7,000 in Iraq. The king’s 
royal decree issued in early February imposing tough prison sentences 
(most up to dozens of years in prison) on any Saudi national who 
“participates in hostilities outside of the Kingdom in any way” 
explicitly criminalizes fighting abroad, and was aimed squarely at those 
sympathizing with extremist rebel groups in Syria.

In other words, the Saudi nationals are not to return home. This policy 
may mean that those fighting in the Levant on behalf of al-Qaeda will 
need to fight to the death or move elsewhere. This fact may not play 
well with the United States who sees the Syrian battle-space as a 
terrorist incubator; a point that has has been argued over and over 
again.
Regulate and coordinate military activity

The United States and Saudi Arabia have reportedly agreed on the need to 
regulate and coordinate military activity on the ground and to 
concentrate on key regions where the Islamic Front can seize control and 
negotiate peace settlements with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, one 
meter at a time.

The two countries also see that Syrian President al-Assad is not going 
to capitulate anytime soon so the two countries—including other key Arab 
states—see summer elections occurring in Syria.

In other words, the Saudis see Assad ultimately becoming the Queen of 
England while the prime minister, whoever that will be—most likely a 
Sunni—will hold real power; a scenario the Saudi’s were originally 
seeking in the first place. The country will become a type of 
confessional state and will seek to eradicate al-Qaeda completely.

Clearly, America and Saudi Arabia now agree that Assad will not be 
deposed. In fact, the Saudi official media no longer issues bitter 
condemnations of the Syrian president like it did a few months ago.

When the two leaders meet, it is very likely that President Obama will 
tell the Saudi King that the kingdom’s policies need to be renewed or 
Saudi Arabia will face their own troubles—a fact already well known.

The American president will make clear that all previous policies of the 
now disgraced and rogue Prince Bandar bin Sultan will be reversed and 
that the U.S. will support Saudi Arabia on the Syria file within Nayef’s 
mandate, both publically and privately.
Geneva III

But what Nayef is trying to do with the Americans is set the stage for a 
Geneva III. His new mandate opens up this possibility. And Obama wants 
the Saudis on board in order to achieve Syrian opposition cohesion and 
transfer of the Geneva talks to Damascus itself—before the Syrian 
presidential elections are to be supposedly held.

The process in play is stabilizing Syria jointly and internationally, 
finding unity and rebuilding the Syrian state in a new manner. Finally, 
President Obama will argue that the biggest threat is the jihadists and 
that American-Saudi cooperation on this issue is the most important 
point of all. This bi-lateral effort is now over ten years old. All of 
the above is to be completed in a one day summit, eye-to-eye.

Overall, Nayef’s appointment speaks volumes about cleaning up the mess 
in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. He is now the king’s point man on Syria. 
The minister of the interior is supported by many friends and colleagues 
in the United States. The two countries seem to have found a way to 
agree on the Syrian file in the short term through Nayef’s visit and 
discussions regarding Riyadh’s regional objectives.

Unlike a few weeks ago, when no plan and recklessness seemed to be the 
order of the day, a framework now seems to be in play that is acceptable 
to the Saudi leadership.



________________________
Dr. Theodore Karasik is the Director of Research and Consultancy at the 
Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in Dubai, 
UAE. He is also a Lecturer at University of Wollongong Dubai. Dr. 
Karasik received his Ph.D in History from the University of California 
Los Angles 





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