|Saudi Arabia: Arm The Syrian Opposition (Which Includes Al-Qaeda)|
|Written by Brit|
|Saturday, 25 February 2012 14:48|
As the West continues to try and topple Syria's government without resorting to outright military attacks, Saudi Arabia has entered the fray with calls to arm the opposition movement.
At The Friends Of Syria conference held yesterday in Tunisia, at which Hillary Clinton described countries failing to toe the Western line as having "blood on their hands", Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that he believed arming the Free Syria Army was "an excellent idea". The call comes despite US officials describing the Syrian opposition as "fragmented and often feuding", and containing terrorists connected to Al-Qaeda, who are believed to be behind a series of bombings in Syria in which many civilians have reportedly been killed.
Arming a fractious and squabbling opposition, containing the very Islamic militants the West has been fighting since 9/11, would only serve to cause further chaos and the deaths of more civilians - civilians our leaders have repeatedly claimed they are trying to protect. In reality our governments and their allies in the Arab world are cynically using the situation in Syria, and the deaths of civilians, as a pretext to topple the country's government, and thus weaken Iran. If our leaders were genuinely concerned about brutality in Syria, they would be condemning in the strongest possible terms abuses committed by all participants in the current violence. Instead, crimes against humanity committed by the opposition, such as the torture and execution of Syrian soldiers detailed in a recent UN report, and the terrorist bombings by Al-Qaeda, pass without comment.
It is grimly ironic that Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the West, is holding court at a conference discussing human rights abuses. Saudi Arabia has an appalling human rights record, with even the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website stating that "Saudi Arabia is featured as one of the 26 countries where we have some of the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns." Such concerns go discretely unmentioned when Western leaders and their Saudi counterparts appear together in front of the media, due to the strong links between the Saudi monarchy and the Western business elite. Saudi Arabia is the world's second largest oil exporter and the relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud is perhaps the most notorious example of such questionable but highly lucrative business relationships.
As well as remaining tight-lipped about Saudi human rights abuses, Western politicians have been remarkably quiet about the country's alleged complicity in international terrorism - most notably their role in the 9/11 attacks. Having been sold an official, propagandised account of the 9/11 attacks, it is all too easy for the Western public to forget - or to be totally unaware of - the fact that 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers were not from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Iran, but Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden himself was of course Saudi, and the country has repeatedly been accused of being the world's single biggest funder of Islamic extremism. A leaked secret memo written by Hillary Clinton - who yesterday sat down at the Friends Of Syria conference with the Saudi foreign minister - detailed how the US believes Saudi Arabia to be:
"a critical financial support base for al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during the Haj and Ramadan"
It is difficult not to employ the over-used term "Orwellian" when assessing such a bizarre situation. We are now partnered with a country, Saudi Arabia, who our governments believe to be principal funders of the terror group they have been fighting for over a decade. Even more outrageously, they are considering arming an opposition group suspected of containing members of that very terror organisation! The Syrian government has consistently claimed that its current military actions have been a response to Al-Qaeda terrorists operating in their country. Being our latest enemy, Assad's actions have been portrayed by the West as crimes against humanity - even though his firm stance might feasibly have been accepted as necessary in the "war on terror" had they taken place in a country ruled by a pro-Western, anti-Iranian government.
A Syrian state-run newspaper, Al Thawra, has reacted angrily to Saudi Arabia's call to arm the opposition, a commentary in the newpaper accusing the country of being a "direct partner in shedding more Syrian blood." The commentary also said that "It's shameful for the vocabulary of the Saudi speech to reach this level ... and to announce so rudely support for terrorists".