Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Islamist threat at home forces Saudi rethink on Syria   Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab Times - 13/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Arab Times) After serving for years as the main conduit for weapons and cash to rebels battling Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia is shifting its policy to contain the spread of Islamist militancy at home, diplomats and figures close to the goverment say. Riyadh is concerned that radicalism among rebels in Syria will boost al-Qaeda at home in Saudi Arabia, which suffered a blowback last decade when fighters from the network of Osama bin Laden - himself a Saudi - returned from jihad in Afghanistan. Saudi leaders are still determined to help rebels bring down Assad, an ally of their main rival Iran, but their heightened focus on security at home suggests they may temper some of the effort



In a striking sign of the change, King Abdullah last week issued a royal decree imposing prison terms of 3-20 years on Saudis who go abroad to fight. The change has also come at a moment when Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan - the architect of a Syria policy that has included training camps in Jordan and shipments of weapons and money - has lowered his public profile, diplomatic sources in the Gulf say. "Their Syria policy is getting very counter-terrorism focused," said a senior diplomatic source in the Gulf. "The Interior Ministry in particular is very worried about what's happening in Syria, as they should be," he added



Powerful Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef led the crushing of an al-Qaeda uprising in the kingdom in the last decade by Saudis who returned from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He later survived an assassination attempt by the group. "What happened in Syria is really causing problems for us," said Abdulrahman al-Hadlaq, head of the Interior Ministry's Ideological Security Directorate, which monitors online radicalism. He estimated there were between 1,000-2,000 Saudis in Syria, including both fighters and people distributing charity to refugees, and said he believed most were in groups aligned with al-Qaeda. Although Riyadh has discoured its citizens from going to Syria, it was not until last week's royal decree that it made it explicitly illegal and clarified that those who did go faced tough penalties




While the sources who spoke to Reuters for this report were not able to say with certainty in what way Riyadh will alter its systematic support for rebels under the policy engineered by Prince Bandar, they said senior figures in Riyadh increasingly worry that toppling Assad will take longer than they hoped. Meanwhile, radical groups in Syria have been getting stronger at the expense of mainstream groups that have been the main recipients of Saudi military and financial aid, training and logistical support. Assad's position has also solidified in the past year. The failure to build a rebel force that can defeat Assad is partly due to logistical difficulties in working with many disparate groups spread across the country, but it is also because the strongest rebel factions are linked to al-Qaeda



The change in emphasis could present an opportunity to realign Syria policy more closely with Washington, after Riyadh fell out with its superpower ally last year, accusing the administration of Barack Obama of foresaking Syria's rebels. Obama is due to visit Saudi Arabia in March. "The Saudis have to prepare a clear vision on what's happening in Syria and on what they want in Syria. Counter terrorism plays a big role in American thinking, and in Saudi thinking," said Mustafa Alani, an analyst with the Gulf Research Centre, based in Jeddah and Geneva. Prince Mohammed, the interior minister, enjoys close relations with US security officials, shares their concerns about Islamist militants, and met Central Intelligence Agency head John Brennan in Washington on Monday. Riyadh and Washington argued last year over Syria after Obama decided against bombing Assad following a poison gas attack in Damascus, a decision Saudi leaders feared would encourage Iran to take a more open role in the conflict




 


Arab Times




  MENA News Headlines
 Aug 29 2016 - Learningonline.xyz Supports UN Global Goals for Quality Education with its Online TESOL Program for Language TeachersMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Learningonline.xyz Supports UN Global Goals for Quality Education with its Online TESOL Program for Language Teachers The Global Goals for Quality Education are vital for the ...

 Aug 29 2016 - UN's Ban Ki Moon urged to listen to Northern Provincial Council leaders & not to Colombo based MP's: Tamils for ObamaMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) UN's Ban Ki Moon urged to listen to Northern Provincial Council leaders & not to Colombo based MP's: Tamils for Obama NEW YORK, USA, August 29, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Tamils ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Industrial Robotic Software Market - Structure, Size, Trends, Analysis and Outlook 2016-2022MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Industrial Robotic Software Market - Structure, Size, Trends, Analysis and Outlook 2016-2022 Robotic software is an important component of industrial robotic system and plays a core ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Sonbranch Music Releases Restored, Delivering Music of Healing and Comfort to Those Who Are HurtingMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Sonbranch Music Releases Restored, Delivering Music of Healing and Comfort to Those Who Are Hurting ORANGE COUNTY, CA, UNITED STATES, August 28, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Sonbranch ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Indagem Tech Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Fund Mobile Security Lost-Item Tracker SystemMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Indagem Tech Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Fund Mobile Security Lost-Item Tracker System UMS HomeShield Monitoring anything UMS HomeShield Track anything UMS HomeShield Smart ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Wearable IoT World showcases new startups at Hong Kong's First U.S.-Pan Asia IoT Superhighway Demo DayMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Wearable IoT World showcases new startups at Hong Kong's First U.S.-Pan Asia IoT Superhighway Demo Day Wearable IoT World";s First U.S.-Pan Asia IoT Superhighway accelerator program ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Global Assembly Robots Market - Structure, Size, Trends, Analysis and Outlook 2016-2022MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Global Assembly Robots Market - Structure, Size, Trends, Analysis and Outlook 2016-2022 Industrial assembly robotics represents an important application segment among all the ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Articulated Industrial Robots Market : Global Industry 2016-2021MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Articulated Industrial Robots Market : Global Industry 2016-2021 Both the unit shipment and the sales revenue of articulated robots are forecast to grow at two-digit CAGRs throughout ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Global Intelligent Solar Market 2016Analysis and Forecast to 2021MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Global Intelligent Solar Market 2016Analysis and Forecast to 2021 Market Segment by Regions, this report splits Global into several key Regions, with production, consumption, ...

 Aug 29 2016 - Global Amazon.com Market 2016 Share, Trend, Segmentation and ForecastMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Global Amazon.com Market 2016 Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast Global Amazon.com Market 2016 Analysis and Forecast PUNE, INDIA, August 29, 2016 /EINPresswire.com/ -- - The ...

more...


 





Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help