Saudi Arabia: Taking a Stand Against Syria


King Abdullah has paved the way with the recall of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Syria for other GCC countries to follow suit and recall their own ambassador’s as well.  Ever since the Arab Spring, the GCC looks resolutely to Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah for guidance.  It is clear that Saudi Arabia is now one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world.  The economy is good; there is a building boom and an overall feeling of stability.


In regards to Syria, it is not as if Saudi Arabia or King Abdullah is against Syria’s people but rather the “other factions” which cause the dissent and unrest.  Syrian President Bashar Assad needs to reign in and get outside elements under control which are detrimental to Syria and neighboring states.  Until Assad shows the mettle and iron strength to take on outside elements he will find himself continually isolated by his Arab brothers.


However Saudi Arabia sent a clear message to Bashar Assad that immediate reforms are expected.  King Abdullah’s message has led to the recall of other GCC Ambassadors from Syria.

16 Responses

  1. “Other factions”?

    I have several Syrian friends who are against this regime. They simply want their freedoms. They want to not live in a state of fear for simply speaking their minds about their government leaders and things they want to change.

    Maybe you mean Iran and Hezbollah because they have supported the brutal regime from what I understand.

    By the way, I mentioned this on Facebook yesterday and a Saudi friend had this reply to the story.

    “First of all, let’s be clear that he didn’t do that without the approval of the American government, I am not a conspiracy theory believer but is it a surprise that the speech came one day after Clinton’s speech !! beside, the killings have been going on for almost four month and was worse for almost a month now !! . Second, how can he dare condemned what the Syrian are doing when he helped the Bahrainian government to do the same !!. What about the people of his country, us, life is killing us here and he can not see below his nose but he can see all the way to Syria. I do believe that the whole world supposed to talk about the brutality and killings in Syria, it’s the least they can do, but when that come from a man and a government that is known to be “an enemy to freedom” that’s just absurdity.”

  2. ‘Until Assad shows the mettle and iron strength to take on outside elements’

    What exactly are these ‘outside elements’ and how are they having a detrimental effect on Syria?

  3. This is a smart move, taken with an eye on Iran. Even so, it is obvious that regime change, any regime, gives the Saudi family shivers. However, if they do nothing, Irans extends its sphere of influence.

    For the life of me I cannot understand how Gadaffi and Assad are not hanging from a rope for their crimes. I hope by the end of the year these two ^%$&* will be gone, preferably taking up residence in a hotter climate.

    As to “freedoms” for the Syrians, Egyptians, Lybians and other Arabs – sorry, but won’t happen. It will be one new bunch of tyrants replacing the old, probably worse. There is no fertile ground for liberty and human rights in that part of the world. These require certain pre-conditions that are not acceptable to Arabs and Muslims.

  4. @Jay – ‘There is no fertile ground for liberty and human rights in that part of the world.’

    How very unfortunate. Perhaps they will wake up one day.

  5. ‘There is no fertile ground for liberty and human rights in that part of the world. These require certain pre-conditions that are not acceptable to Arabs and Muslims.’

    It’s always such a shame to see a comment like that, you wouldn’t guess that such an interesting blog had such an ignorant bigoted reader who clearly has no idea what’s been happening in the middle east for the last 6 months.

  6. Susanne430 … I agree with you about Bahrain. It was disgusting that KSA sent in troupes to help the government!!!

  7. Saudi Arabia supporting “democracy” in Syria or any of the other “brotherly” muslim countries?? That’s like putting Dracula in charge of the garlic farm. And denunciation by Don Abdullah of Don Assad regime does make him sound a bit like Al Capone condemning the Kray twins :)-

    Back home in the Kingdom of Mafiadom, House of Dons have shown no inclination towards the “quick and comprehensive reforms” that they are now urging upon Syria. They have nothing to teach Syria about democracy, since protest demonstrations in the kingdom are totally banned. So Don Abdullah’s message to Don Assad betrays more than a little irony.

    Yes, there is a certain amount of irony in the despot of Saudi Arabia preaching to the despot of Syria, but I personally don’t really care about how the Arabs in the middle east choose to govern themselves. With the spectre of Wahabbi Islam hanging over everything, I don’t believe any version of Arab democracy will respect western-style human rights -freedom of religion, speech, assembly, etc. They’ll just be choosing a different form of tyrrany – the tyranny of the illitrate wahabbi sheiks/imams.

    Oh, the pure irony of the Saudi King talking of reforms in a nation that is not his own. Saudi Arabia is one of the most reactionary, counterrevolutionary nations in the Middle East. If he’s going to avoid hypocrisy, King Abdullah should be criticizing the actions of his OWN SOLDIERS during the invasion of Bahrain, and his own actions relating to the invasion.

    Perhaps even more troubling, though, is the negative role that Saudi Arabia has been playing during the “Arab spring” – a role that now it seems to be extending to include Syria. Saudi Arabia has no interest in promoting democracy or human rights in Syria or Bahrain or elsewhere; it does have an interest in promoting Wahabbi brand of Islam and influence and combating Shia influence (as embodied at the international level by Iran). Considering the Assad regime’s ties with Iran, this suggests a motive for Saudi Arabia to become involved now – in the hope of driving a wedge between Iran and a post-Assad Syria.

    The claim that saudi arabia is an emerging “regional” super power is wishful thinking and making mockery of the usage of the word “POWER”. A more realistic way of looking at it would perhaps be to see Saudi Arabia as the leading STATUS QUO POWER in the region, with an interest in combating any revisionist or revolutionary forces, be that Iran and its allies or the pro-democracy movement on the streets: the moral character of the challenge in question being immaterial to the House of Saud, of course!

  8. @Ahmed – ‘you wouldn’t guess that such an interesting blog had such an ignorant bigoted reader…’

    What? Why not? This blog is also frequently visited by many immature name callers that do not know how to intelligently and maturely contribute to a dialogue. Perhaps, Ahmed, instead of just telling a person that their comment is ignorant and/or bigoted you could try a comment that explains HOW, exactly they are ignorant and bigoted without making yourself look so bad?

  9. Ahmed, let me very clear. To have true liberty, freedom of conscience and religion is necessary, as is the right to criticize any religious dogma. No Muslim, no Islamic nation will accept this.

    And so look at the 50+ members of the Islamic Nations Conference and tell me I am wrong. Do the math. Apply statistical analysis (probability and chance) and then tell me that Islam has nothing to do with the lack of freedom and human rights ion these countries.

    And that is just for Muslims, imagine then the situation of infidels under Islam. Remember, more than any other theme in the Quran – more than even the oneness of Allah (sort of) or the prophethood of Mohammad – the concept that non-Muslims are evil, tricky, deviant, dirty, and untrustworthy is the most common topic in the Quran, by far.

    Note that it was only in the late 17th century that true democracy developed in the West, with the decline of religion and/or the acceptance of the idea that religious dogma could be questioned.

    I have given a lot of thought to this ‘why’ issue and I believe I am correct. The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ will not bring democracy or even improved living conditions. I would like to be wrong on this, but I have found that one rarely goes wrong when thinking the worst about the human race in general, or Muslims in particular. I say ‘Muslims in particular’ only because they show no capacity for self-reflection and therefore no ability to change. I believe I have said this 23 times here at Am Bedu and about 507 times on other sites.

    Also, by the way, I have never asked a Muslim to not speak their opinions, even those that offend me, even those I know or believe to be wrong. I am not afraid of contrary attitudes, opinions or actions.

    You take care, Ahmed. I hope this world turns out well for you and yours but I insist on the right to have opinions that you disagree with.

    Note that this business between Iran, Syria and Arabia is very serious. None of these countries care about democracy or human rights, only about control, influence and political alliances. In many ways, that is what governments do, all governments. Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in a very complex conflict that can go any way. To Iran, it is ideological, but to SA it is about personal power and influence and keeping royal heads on royal shoulders. It is also fanaticism vs money. I bet the House of Saud has some very interesting conversations around the dinner table about this issue.

  10. I’ll consider taking this seriously when King Abdullah volunteers his fleet of F-15s to assist in doing whatever’s necessary to halt Assad’s massacres. Until then, no one should view it as anything more than political maneuvering. He sees which way the wind is blowing, and doesn’t want to find himself on the wrong side of any ensuing military action.

    Like virtually every other unelected Arab leader, King Abdullah is horrified by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. He’d much prefer that Assad stayed in power, not out of any sense of loyalty, but because he fears that if Assad falls, he might be next. However, if Assad’s fall is inevitable either way, Abdullah is happy to throw him under the bus in a calculated effort to keep himself in power a little longer.

    @Jay – The only thing I can say is that, despite their vehement insistence to the contrary, the Saudi government does not speak for Islam, and their treatment of foreigners (Muslims and non-Muslims) violates many principles of Islam. The same is true for many of their interpretations of the Qur’an.

    The fact that many Muslim leaders have no regard for human rights (or their own religion) is meaningless when you consider that most are unelected dictators. Most are only in power due to foreign influences. You can’t draw inferences about the entire population based on their leaders in the same way that you (arguably) can in a democratic society.

  11. yes; I see the outside factions to Syria as Iran and Hezbollah.

  12. …and how are they having a detrimental effect on Syria?

  13. Lynn, Iran has always used Syria as a way to transfer weapons and support to Hezbollah in its fight against Israel. Most Syrians seem to not mind this as they see Hezbollah as freedom fighters and supported Nasrallah (their leader). I remember when I was in Syria and I’d see Nasrallah’s photo around town and even on friends’ computers as wallpaper. (Knew I wasn’t in the US anymore since Hezbollah is a terrorist organization according to our gov’t. 🙂 )

    So most Syrians seemed to be OK with Hezbollah UNTIL the uprisings began in Syria back in March. While Iran and Hezbollah supported most of the uprisings of the people wanting freedom suddenly they decided the Syrians wanting these same freedoms did not warrant their support. Instead, they sided with the murderous thugs of Al Assad! Do I even need to say that since then Hezbollah has come out-of-favor with MANY who previously liked what they stood for?

    Saudis are not saints either however. When it suited them, they supported squashing the protests in Bahrain. Perhaps because the Shiites were protesting there and they didn’t want this to spread to their country.

    It all seems it’s not a matter of principle: supporting those who want freedom for the goodness of freedom. But if their interests are at stake, suddenly freedom is not a good thing. (This is not unlike policies elsewhere in the world like the US, but this post is about Syria so….)

    Those in charge of Syria (the murderous regime) are mostly Alawaites which is a Shia sect…not even considered “real” Muslims by many Muslims, however since they help Iran and Hezbollah (both Shia groups), they have that tie.

  14. Yes, Susanne, I get understand the tie but I was wondering what Carol said about the ‘detrimental effect’ and what exactly she thought that was.

  15. I understand. Sorry for answering. I’ll go back to fixin’ my rice! 😉

  16. Sunni, Yes, this is about ‘power politics”. We, the little people (at least me) can only watch and wonder. Nothing we do or say will make a difference.

    The problem with the “principles of Islam” argument is that nobody understands exactly what those principles are, and if they use that position based upon Quranic verses, they have a problem because there are verses that contradict those principles they portray as being the essance of Islam. I guess it depends on which principles and which verses. I have read the Quran and it seems that there are two major themes: infidels are evil and Mohammad is the prophet of the one and only true god (kind of, sort of). Thjat is not the stuff you can take to a debate. I have seen 1000 muslim sites that say “Islam teaches justice” or “Islam is about love” yet these too fail to impress because they can’t seem to find proper verses to support their arguments. Bummer.

    You are obviously a dedicated, good Muslim. Good for you. I like the ‘dedicated’ and ‘good’ parts but the descriptive ‘Muslim’ is meaningless. The question is what part of Islam do you represent? Or can you claim one aspect and reject other, less nice, issues? That is the $64,000 question. I have found MUslims to be less than candid about their religion.

    I draw inferences about entire populations based on the situation and generalized conduct of that population. I don’t blame the apostasy laws on just a few leaders. It seems that repression and religious intolerance in Islamic societies has the broad support of the people.

    Muslims need to stop the ‘blame game’ – too often Muslims have this annoying, unfruitful habit of blaming everybody and everything on anybody but themselves. I dont care how evil and cunning the jews, crusaders and media are, they can’t possibly be responsible for all evils in Islamic societies.

    Sunni, you take care.


    PS: I watch the Sunni-Shia question closely and I currently put the score at 45-55.

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