Saudi Arabia has warned Russia of grave consequences regarding the latter’s military intervention in Syria while reiterating its pledge to support the moderate opposition in Syria against the Bashar al-Assad regime.
A senior Saudi Arabian official has made it clear that the Russian intervention in Syria against ISIS fighters and rebels is not welcome. During a meeting with Russian leaders in Moscow, Saudi officials conveyed the message from their Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir that Saudi Arabia does not support Moscow’s aggressive policies in Syria.
Saudi Arabia has been the most prominent voice against the Bashar al-Assad regime over the years and has once again pledged to support the moderate opposition fighting against his regime in the country. Saudi Arabia has warned Moscow that Putin’s aggressive approach in Russia will bear no fruit but rather that it will further escalate the sectarian issue in the region.
“Sectarian war will get a boost because of Russian intervention in Syria and Saudi Arabia has warned Russia of such grave consequence,” a Saudi official said. “Saudi Arabia stands by the side of moderate opposition in Syria and it will continue strengthening them and supporting them in this need of hour,” he added.
Saudis let their anger be known
Officials further added that the Saudi delegation met with Russian leaders at Sochi this Sunday they have made their reservation clear to Russian leaders during a meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister, Sergi Lavrov.
The insurgency in Russia has captured Saudis in fear that it will further escalate the sectarian war in the region that has seen thousands of people lose their lives since the insurgency in Syria. While on the other hand, they believe that this will only strengthen the extremists groups playing their trade in the Middle East, such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia views that Russian intervention will strengthen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the country, which will further aid other Shiite regimes in the region such as Iran and Iraq, which have pledged their support to Moscow over the intervention in Syria. And this will force Sunni terrorist organisations, Al Qaeda and Islamic State, to come forward in the defense of the Sunni population of the region.
Mistrust between Russia and Saudi Arabia over Syria
Although Russia has stated that it is only bombing the Islamic State targets in Syria, Saudi Arabia is not convinced with that. The Saudis are of the view that Kremlin is not sincere in its claims of destroying IS in the region and its main motive is to save Assad’s regime in Syria and Russia is only using Islamic State as an excuse to justify its action in Syria.
A senior Saudi official claimed that Russian intervention in Syria will not affect Islamic State rather it will further strengthen the terrorist organisation.
“Russian intervention will aid the extremists and Jihadist in the region and it will give them extra motivation to speed up their activity.”
He further added that Moscow’s action are adding grievances among Sunni Muslims around the world.
“Kremlin’s actions are alienating Sunni Muslim population in the region and it has given Russia a bad image in the face of Muslims across the globe.”
While conveying their reservations regarding military intervention in Syria to Russian leaders, Saudi officials have once again reiterated their stance on Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. According to sources, Saudi Arabia will not accept Assad as the head of the Syrian state and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants him removed from the post as per the agreement, which took place during the Syrian conference held in Geneva back in 2012.
Saudi Arabia believes that in order to put Syria on the road to peace and stability, Assad needs to go. Otherwise, the country will continue being in the perpetual state of war and any move for a political transition in the country will be hindered. Saudi officials warned that in order to make Syria a peaceful state, a new Syrian government needs to be formed through a mutual consent of both the authorities and the opposition.
Syria in need of a regime change
Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has called on the Syrian President to give up power for the betterment Syria, or he will be removed by force. While talking to General Assembly, the Foreign Minister stressed that the countries around the world wants a peaceful political transition in Syria and there is no place of Bashar al-Assad in the future.
“There is no future for Assad in Syria,” said Jubeir while talking to reporters at the UN general assembly.
Saudi Arabia is also worried about the Russia-Iran alliance at work in the Middle East. According to the source, Saudis are worried that with the help of Russian, Iran is trying to get Shiite section of the population in power in these countries, which is unacceptable for Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia views Russian operations in Syria as an alliance between Moscow and Tehran.”
Despite all the criticism from Saudi Arabia, Russia is still sticking to its stance of fighting terrorism in Syria. Moscow has reiterated its desire to destroy Islamic State at work in Syria and Iraq in a move that has really attracted a lot of criticism from the West with the United States blaming Moscow for having ulterior motives that have nothing to do to bring peace to the region.