Persistent Syria differences, shift Saudi away from US

Saudi King Abdullah meets Barack Obama at the White House in Washington 29 June 2010.
Saudi King Abdullah meets Barack Obama at the White House in Washington 29 June 2010.
Differences between the United States and Saudi Arabia over Middle East policy persist, despite their great attempts to create a chaos in Syria to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Although there are evidences that some American weapons are starting to find their way to militant groups fighting Syrian army, disagreements over what to supply, and to whom, have hindered the fight between US and Saudi regime.

Terrorist groups lament a lack of anti-aircraft missiles to help counter Assad’s air force.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funding the foreign backed militants for years now, claiming that the war in Syria is a battle for the future of the Middle East.

However, while the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama wants Assad to leave power, it sees the conflict very differently.

American officials fear that foreign hatched war of Syria threatens to radicalize a new generation of terrorists who hate the West too.

Two hours of talks between Obama and Saudi King Abdullah in March appear to have done little to alter that sentiment.

Both sides acknowledge a fundamental divergence over how to approach big political conflicts in the Middle East that were aggravated by the Arab spring.

The Saudis were also angry when Obama did not do more to back Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak who was forced from power in 2011, and when Washington criticized the army for ousting his successor, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Meanwhile Assad appears to be gaining ground and has told a Russian official the heavy fighting will be over within a year.

But if the Saudis felt stymied, so did the Americans.

Riyadh’s main Syria strategy has been based on persuading Washington of the need to bring its far greater diplomatic, military and planning clout to bear in helping the rebellion.

However the United States fears that any heavy weapons might leak to terrorists who would then turn on the West.

While Riyadh is aware of the danger of militant blowback, it sees U.S. reluctance as a strategic error.

Officials in the kingdom were frustrated at what they saw as American dithering, particularly after Obama backed down from a strike on Syria following a foreign hatched plot over using chemical weapons by Assad in the Damascus suburbs in August.


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