Russia says Saudi Arabia financing terrorists in Syria

Text of “Commentary by Russian Foreign Ministry official representative A.K. (Aleksandr Kazimirovich) Lukashevich regarding anti-Russian statements by Saudi Foreign Minister S. al-Faysal” published on the ministry`s website on 27 June

 

The statements made by the foreign minister of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince S. (Sa`ud) al-Faysal (Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Sa`ud), at a news conference in Jeddah on 25 June this year obliges us to comment.

 

The Saudi Prince in essence accused Russia of unlimited military support for mass murder in Syria and he demanded an end to Moscow`s alleged “frantic arming of the Syrian regime and the hordes of foreign forces supporting it”. He said that an “endless flow of money and weapons” was running from Russia to Syria, which is supporting the “genocide of the Syrian people”.

 

For us it is obvious that the statements of S. Faysal were designed first and foremost to present the results of his talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in this light. However, to the credit of our American partners, who are oriented towards seeking, together with Russia, ways of stopping the bloody and destructive conflict in Syria, this attempt was not successful.

 

We, of course, are not intending to justify ourselves to anyone – our principled position regarding the crisis in Syria is well known. From the very beginning Russia has made efforts to end any violence as quickly as possible and to achieve a peaceful political settlement in this country. Herein lies the fundamental difference between our line and the approaches of certain forces in the region who are aspiring to realize their own geopolitical ambitions at the cost of the blood and suffering of the Syrian people. Furthermore, in a number of capitals, including in Al-Riyad, they are not ashamed to use the most dubious methods and links, including financing and arming international terrorists and extremist groups. Such dangerous actions must be stopped, giving the Syrians the opportunity to determine themselves their own future within the framework of a negotiating process, as the Russian foreign minister (Sergey Lavrov) and the US secretary of state (John Kerry) advocated in Moscow on 7 May.

 

(Dated) 27 June 2013

 

(Description of Source: Moscow Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Russian — Official website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; URL: http://www.mid.ru)

 

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

 

Russian Daily Views `Friends of Syria` Meeting, Conflict`s Internationalization
Nezavisimaya Gazeta Online
Tuesday,
June 25, 2013

 

Report by Darya Tsilyurik: ““`Friends of Syria` Arming Opposition To Spite Moscow; War Between Shiites and Sunnis Is World War III in Miniature”

 

At the “Friends of Syria” meeting in Doha on Saturday (22 June), Western and Middle Eastern states agreed urgently to provide arms to the Syrian insurgents now suffering defeats. The meeting`s participants motivated this decision by the need to prevent a “holy war” between Sunnis and Shiites. However, several countries stated they would not provide lethal aid to the insurgents since this is on the contrary, fraught with the danger of further fuelling the internecine conflict which has not only gripped the entire region but also gone beyond its borders.

 

At the end of the four-hour meeting, the foreign ministers of 11 states did not specify what kind of weapons would be sent to the Syrian opposition. The press managed to find out that Saudi Arabia and Qatar intend to supply portable antiaircraft missile systems and armor-piercing weapons. A French diplomatic source told The Guardian that in accordance with their “role-sharing,” the Western countries are prepared to be responsible for non-lethal aid (communications means, gas masks, night vision goggles, bullet-proof vests), instructors, and intelligence data, while the Persian Gulf monarchies will help the insurgents with weapons.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said why Washington`s position on arming the Syrian insurgents changed recently. “Everything is different now,” he remarked, having in mind what in the White House`s opinion is the proven fact of Damascus`s use of chemical weapons and the widespread participation of the Lebanese Hizballah movement and Iranian subunits in the conflict. He said that this “internationalization” of the conflict is fraught with the danger of the development of a Sunni-Shiite war and leaves America no choice.

 

Actually, the “Friends of Syria” are meeting for the fourth time in a year, and it is less than a month since their previous meeting in Amman, but at the same time the situation on the ground has changed greatly, and not in the opposition`s favor. So the Doha agreement can be seen as a “collective response” to the desperate pleas from Salim Idris, head of the opposition`s Supreme Military Council, to provide antitank and antiaircraft weapons. It is not for nothing that the final statement speaks of the need to “change the balance of forces in the field.”

 

Kerry also commented on the Russian position on Syria, which he believes to be inconsistent. He believes that Moscow, “for the sake of appearances,” is speaking of the need for a political solution, but in actual fact has been continuously arming Bashar al-Asad`s regime. It is hard not to turn this rebuke back on the “Friends of Syria” themselves, since the opposition has long been receiving weapons from the Persian Gulf countries, while French and American instructors are training Syrian militants on the territory of Turkey and Jordan. it is clear that the calculation is to bring supplies to a stable level, ensuring a continuous and coordinated influx of weapons. In that way they will compensate for the “lag” behind Moscow.

The decision of the “Friends of Syria” was not unanimous. A number of countries, headed by Germany, opposed arms deliveries on the grounds that weapons will aggravate the humanitarian crisis and the internecine conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. Hizballah`s activation has caused a clash between representatives of the two poles which for a long time have been struggling for regional influence — Iran on the one hand and the Persian Gulf monarchies on the other. Bahrain is accusing Tehran of inciting the Shiite majority in that country to engage in protests against the ruling Sunni minority. Saudi Arabia says the same thing of its own Shiite minority. Caught between a rock and a hard place is HAMAS, in which a split has taken place: While one of its factions is still funded by Iran, the Arab monarchies have promised multimillions in aid for the restoration of Gaza to others, including the Palestinian movement`s head, Khalid Mish`al. As Riad Qahwaji from the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai puts it, “for the Gulf countries, the war in Syria is a war against Iran.” In the light of calls from both Sunni and Shiite leaders to travel to Syria to the “holy war,” the crisis is gradually encompassing the entire region. In the opinion of observers, the ground for a “holy war” was prepared by the Arab spring, which did not actually satisfy the population`s demands and did not resolve economic and social problems. The most graphic example is Egypt, where unprecedented demonstrations are being prepared to mark the anniversary of Muhammad Mursi`s presidency. As a result the clerics` calls for jihad in Syria are being heard increasingly loudly there, and Egyptians are going to Syria to fight. The anti-Syrian rhetoric of Saudi Arabia, where the social base has as a whole ripened for an Arab spring in view of the disillusioned and unemployed youth, can also be explained from these positions. Radicals are also traveling from Iraq, where intercommunity contradictions are mounting increasingly, and even from remote countries like Tunisia, Russia, Sweden, and China. In some sense the war between the Sunnis and the Shiites has already been turned into World War III in miniature.

(Description of Source: Moscow Nezavisimaya Gazeta Online in Russian — Website of the daily Moscow newspaper featuring varied independent political viewpoints and criticism of the government; owned and edited by businessman Remchukov; URL: http://www.ng.ru/)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Pan-Arab newspaper editor views Kerry`s latest remarks on Syria
BBC Monitoring Middle East
June 27, 2013

Article by Chief Editor Abd-al-Bari Atwan: “At Last, You Have Admitted that Syria Is Not Libya”

The Syrian scene before two years and two months was easy to understand due to the clarity of its details and events: A people demanding freedom, justice, respect for human rights, and political reforms and relying on the means of peaceful protests such as demonstrations and protests against a regime using security solutions ferociously and talking about terrorists and foreign conspiracy.

The Syrian opposition, with Arab, American, and Turkish instigation, turned its demands into a call for the overthrow of the regime and resorted to weapons under the slogan of defending itself against the regime`s ferocity and the increase in the number of victims. Arab satellite channels played a role in exaggerating the events, the opposition`s victories, and the regime`s losses. Entire areas fell into the hands of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] and its men. Suicide bombings targeted security establishments at the centre of the capital Damascus. Syrian borders with Iraq and Turkey were outside the regime`s control through which flowed arms shipments and large numbers of volunteers to join the hard-line Islamic groups. This scene suddenly started to change politically and militarily and in an unprecedented dramatic way, particularly after Al-Qusayr battle in which Hizballah intervened actively and overturned all the balances of power on the ground with its intervention.

Al-Qusayr`s fall was followed by the fall of Sheikh Ahmad al-Asir`s stronghold in Sidon and the surrender of the town of Tall Kalakh near Homs to the regime after a deal with the fighters and military groups defending it to lay down arms in return for amnesty.

The Syrian Observatory, the main source of the news of the casualties and wounded that is close to the opposition, tells us for the first time since the start of the crisis that there are dead on the other side, and civilians too, after such talk about these being was considered a crime. It told us that “100,000 have been killed since the start of the conflict between the two sides, among them 36,661 civilians, 18,072 opposition fighters, and 25,407 elements from the regime`s forces.”

Why publish these figures specifically at this time and why the sudden increased talk about the FSA`s crimes and the publication of video clips of hard-line groups killing a teenager in front of his family, splitting open another`s abdomen and eating his liver, and butchering two non-Syrian jihadists accused of collaborating with the regime?

US Secretary of State John Kerry gave us the answer clearly and frankly when he said at a press conference he held in Kuwait that “there is no military solution in Syria” and asserted that “Syria is not Libya” in his reply to the question why there is not military intervention in the first like the one in the second. Kerry has become concerned about Syria, its territorial integrity, and the state`s institutions when he said “the continuation of the fighting will lead to the state`s destruction, the army`s collapse, and the breakout of an all-out sectarian conflict that lasts years, empowers the extremists, and increases the likelihoods of terror.”

When we used to say that Syria was not like Libya and that the regime had the support of its friends and allies in addition to the support of the army and large sectors of the people, we were cursed from all four corners of the earth together with several accusations of various weights and sizes. But Kerry is not rebuked when he says this because he is simply an American with blue eyes whose country has turned into a faithful friend in the eyes of many Arabs whose aim is to rid them of the evil Arabs and Muslims.

When the Syrian opposition led by the National Coalition is absent, or rather absented, from the recent meeting of the “Friends of the Syrian People” in Doha, when 65,000 Syrian refugees return to their country from Jordan, and when Tall Kalakh returns to the regime`s control, then this means that a big change has taken place on the ground which we must wait to know its true nature.

We do not know if Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Sa`ud al-Faysal – who issued fiery statements yesterday in which he asserted that Syria was an occupied territory (by the regime) and that genocide was being carried out on its territory -realized the acceleration of these developments at the field and political levels in the country or if he was totally unaware of them, “going to the pilgrimage when the people are returning” as the popular proverb says?

 

The Saudi prince is certainly aware of these and many other facts and this could be the reason for his anger particularly as he met before two days with the US secretary of state and listened to his assessments of the Syrian situation and the US stand on them. The prince, who was educated in American universities, surely felt his country`s friends letting it down and abandoning it in the middle of the road.

What terrifies the Saudi prince and many of his Gulf counterparts are the consequences of the sectarian incitement that their governments have encouraged to justify their military and financial intervention in Syria and the possible return of the “mujahideen” who left with good intentions and enthusiasm to Syria to bring down the regime.

When criticisms of the Syrian regime decrease, especially in the Western media, and criticisms of the opposition and its FSA increase and there is much talk about cutting off heads in front of cameras, then this “a bad omen” for those who believed that the West was willing to sacrifice its sons for the sake of the Arabs and establish democracy and human rights values in their countries.

Yes, Syria is not like Libya because the first is next to occupied Palestine and the second is at a distance of 4,000 km from it and has abundant oil and its regime (Libya`s) did not have the support of Iran, Hizballah, Russia, and China.

Expect now massacres targeting the hard-line Islamic groups with the consent of Russia and America and the blessing of Arab countries after which the peaceful political solution that Kerry talked about in Kuwait will come.

Syria has been destroyed and its army is exhausted and people have cursed Arabism. Iraq is torn. Erdogan`s Turkey is on its way to ruin while Egypt sits at a volcano`s crater. What better than this does Israel want.

The lesson is over, O Arabs.

Source: Al-Quds al-Arabi website, London, in Arabic 27 Jun 13

© 2013 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.