Did you ask Abu Yahya about Syria?

Netanyahu returned from Moscow confirming “both Israeli and Russian military will coordinate their moves in Syria.”

Jamal Khashoggi

Published: Updated:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Moscow and confirmed that “both Israeli and Russian military will coordinate their moves in Syria.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had declared earlier a statement about coordination between the American and Russian armed forces. This means that they implicitly accept Russian involvement in Syria’s war.

At the same time, the United States and other countries are targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Israel carries out shelling operations according to its mood and information provided by its intelligence. The Syrian sky has become crowded with fighter jets. This requires the presence of an “operations room” to exchange information in order to prevent any accidental clash between countries that are already on the brink of conflict.

Listen to all the fathers of the Syrian revolution, as they alone have the final and decisive word

Jamal Khashoggi

This is bad news for Syrians and the region because the war will continue. It is also not reassuring to U.N. peace envoy Staffan de Mistura. Russian intervention will prolong the war, perhaps for many years to come.

Unchanging positions

Nothing is changing politically. The Americans are still talking about the necessity of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure, without translating that into action. Their continuous hesitation has added fuel to the fire since they accepted his presence in a transitional phase that has not yet begun and was not even agreed upon.

Moreover, they did not use force to end the conflict and push Assad to negotiate as former U.S. President Bill Clinton did in the Bosnian war. He bombed the Serbs until they signed an agreement that ended the war. Clinton’s solution was political, but only after using force to tame the conflicting parties. This is not what President Barack Obama excels at.

Iran is always at the heart of the Syrian war. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said last Tuesday that there are no Iranian soldiers in Syria (surely no one believed him) and that a role for Assad is essential to resolve the crisis.

Riyadh’s position has not changed - it is still stressing, through Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair, that “there will be no compromise on the kingdom’s opinion regarding Assad’s departure as it is a foregone conclusion, whether it gets accomplished through peace or military defeat.”

He mentioned three times the “military” exclusion of Assad, showing that this is a firm Saudi position that indicates a willingness to go far in order to achieve its goals. However, Riyadh will certainly avoid any clash with the Russians in Syria.

Countries involved in the Syrian conflict have not changed their stance, so the crisis will not end this year despite optimism after rebel victories in the north and south. Meanwhile, the Russians changed the rules of the game when they arrived at the Syrian coast with 22 airplanes and thousands of soldiers. This has reassured Assad that he is not leaving.

European capitals are still shocked by the influx of immigrants, which cannot be stopped as long as Middle East crises persist. This is why they need to become active in resolving them. However, the real decision-makers are the rebels who implement changes with their blood and their determination to achieve freedom within Syria.


No one is asking whether Abu Abdallah Zahran Alush, leader of the Army of Islam, which is knocking at the doors of Damascus, or Abu Yahya al-Hamawi, the emir of Ahrar al-Sham, which dominates most of the north and is confronting ISIS and the regime, are ready with other factions to accept a deal planned in foreign capitals. If these people approve of Assad, the war would be over. If they refuse and insist on freedom, war will continue.

In July, during a Russian-mediated meeting, Riyadh offered to stop supporting the opposition in return for getting Hezbollah, Iran and Shiite militias out of Syria so the conflict and its solution would be inter-Syrian. Then, it would accept what was agreed upon. However, it appears that the Russians did not approve because they know that if Assad confronts his rebellious people alone, his regime will fall.

Saudi Arabia knows that Syrians reject the regime. This is why Riyadh has taken this determined stand. It is time the world knows that Saudi Arabia cannot abandon the opposition to be slaughtered, because that would mean accepting an Iranian Syria extending over the entire Fertile Crescent. Riyadh will reject Iran in Syria just as it did in Yemen. End of discussion. Listen to all the fathers of the Syrian revolution, as they alone have the final and decisive word.


Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels. Twitter: @JKhashoggi

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