The Syrians have lived dreams of Assad’s expulsion and his durability. Today, they are at a crossroads watching the scene powerlessly.
Those who dream of expelling Assad are lamenting their bad luck and how the world failed their cause. They blame the close ones more than they blame those afar, and they’re burdening the Gulf countries with much than their energy can tolerate.
On the humanitarian level, no state gave the Syrian people as much as Saudi Arabia did. It provided open support and tons of aid that have been continuously sent to Syria and to refugee camps.
This is in addition to hosting tens of thousands in the kingdom. To maintain their dignity, it facilitated their stay, work and education as residents and not as refugees. This is why their number is not documented in UN papers.
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Politically, Saudi Arabia supported the rebels and those who reject Assad’s governance in all arenas. It pushed them to form one front instead of being divided. Efforts stumbled however due to the Turkish-Qatari tampering.
Militarily, the Free Syrian Army was formed with Arab and western support. It was a ready alternative to secure the areas which the Assad regime had lost, only if Assad hadn’t opened prisons and liberated hundreds of extremists which formed groups like al-Qaeda but under different names and forms.
What helped this chaos spread was the renewal of Turkish-Qatari tampering aided with extremist powers at the expense of the FSA. Arming the FSA was the most difficult task faced by any country that respects laws and takes into consideration the legal consequences in the future.
Cautiously and out of fear that heavy weapons will be smuggled, the Friends of Syria supported the FSA with light and medium weapons. However, this was not enough to finalize a conflict that begins from the skies with fighter jets.
Although Syria is an important country and a major zone in the Arab-Persian conflict, Yemen is a priority in the kingdom’s foreign policyFares bin Hezam
During the past three years, Syria turned into an international conflict zone due to Iran’s infiltration and Russia’s involvement. In the past year, America was encouraged to be involved and this year, Israel did for the first time. What’s required from Saudi Arabia before and after this?
I think it has consciously given plenty of support to a true cause. It was alone at the beginning as the West let it down in the first two years of the revolution when Syria’s worry was expelling Assad. Today the worry is to get Iran out of Syria.
Syria is not a border country and although Syria is an important country and a major zone in the Arab-Persian conflict, Yemen is a priority in the kingdom’s foreign policy. The kingdom thus rose to finalize another major arena in the conflict with Iran.
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Syria today faces a transformation that awaits it in the coming months along with expectations of major sanctions, which may be imposed on Iran and the desire of the American and Russian axes to get it out of Syria. The survival of the regime is the closest scenario, with Bashar or without him.
Militarily, the battles may end in 2019 while bombings and assassinations continue to happen. This is where the Saudi role comes in facilitating the political task for Syria’s future. Syria will be built from within with modern political pillars, and Riyadh has its strong influence in this peaceful field.
Nothing in the horizon stipulates that it will deal again with the head of the regime Bashar al-Assad but it will deal with substitutes that are fit to live with a new regime, which the largest number of the conflicting parties meets around.
Riyadh can then push the moderate political powers to accept a new form that’s internationally agreed upon. This is not imposing anything on the people’s will but it’s accepting a realistic solution which many wars led to.
Some solutions ended with the state remaining on all its territories, like Congo, Sierra Leone and Rwanda while others concluded with complete disintegration like Yugoslavia which split into seven countries.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Fares bin Hezam is Editor-in-Chief at Al Arabiya Channel.