Quotes: US 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 discouraged 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.


 






  MENA News Headlines
Apr 15 2014VistaJet Bombardier Claims Landmark Julius Baer Beach Polo Title ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) The Julius Baer Beach Polo Cup Dubai 2014 presented by Cadillac was claimed yesterday by an 8-4 VistaJet Bombardier victory over the title sponsors, following two days of furious polo ...

Apr 15 2014Doha Bank named Best Retail Bank in Qatar by the Asian Banker ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Doha Bank, the leading private commercial bank in Qatar, was named the Best Retail Bank in Qatar at The International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards Ceremony held this ...

Apr 15 2014Omnix International successfully hosts Autodesk event for local CAD, BIM and IT managers ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Omnix International, the MENA region's leading provider of computer aided engineering solutions, successfully hosted an Autodesk event targeting local CAD, BIM and IT managers at the ...

Apr 15 2014Lord Mayor of London meets with the BIBF ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) The Lord Mayor of London, Right Honorouble Alderman Fiona Woolf visited the BIBF recently to meet with Senior Management and discuss opportunities for improved support from UK-based ...

Apr 15 2014Excellent survival rates for paediatric lymphoma has motivated research efforts in the Middle East ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) According to the American Cancer Society, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) accounts for about 6% of all childhood cancers. Hodgkin disease accounts for about another 4 % . Although adult ...

Apr 15 2014Gulf Finance House hold ordinary and extraordinary general meetings ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Gulf Finance House (GFH), the Bahrain based Islamic investment bank, today concluded the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meetings of the Bank for the twelve-months ended 31 ...

Apr 15 2014Etisalat Honours 39 Sales Partners at 2nd Annual Conference ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Etisalat, the UAE's leading telecom provider, celebrated the achievements of 39 of its channel partners at the 2nd annual sales partners conference. The event was attended by ...

Apr 15 2014Ericsson cloud Transformation, a key enabler of the networked society ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) As a part of its participation at Cloud World Forum MENA 2014, Ericsson discussed the opportunities enabled by the Cloud in light with the significant transformation of the Information ...

Apr 15 2014ENOC Retail offers over 60 lucky customers at ZOOM stores on Dubai Metro network free travel for a year ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Lucky customers of ZOOM convenience stores operated by ENOC Retail on the Dubai Metro network now stand to win a daily prize of free commuting on the world's largest driverless metro ...

Apr 15 2014du celebrates more than two successful years of Emirati Plan - the mobile package exclusively for UAE nationals ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) 2014 is the year when Emirati Plan – du's exclusive plan for UAE nationals will enter its third year, and yet it stands head and shoulders above any other comparable plan in the ...

Apr 15 2014Kuwaiti plan to award USD4.3b oil project ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) The head of state-owned Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) said that his country plans to sign a USD4.2 billion contract for the first phase of a heavy oil production project, Arabian Business ...

Apr 15 2014Sharjah rents up 7% in Q1 as Dubai residents relocate ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Sharjah is benefiting from ongoing rental rate rises in Dubai as residents look to relocate to more affordable accommodation according to a Q1 2014 Northern Emirates report from ...

Apr 15 201416th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) 2014 opened ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) The 16th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX 2014), was inaugurated today by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of ...

Apr 15 2014The Address Hotels + Resorts win multiple accolades at 2014 World Luxury Spa Awards ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) The Address Hotels + Resorts, the five-star premium brand of Emaar Hospitality Group, has underlined its credentials in the recreation and leisure sector, winning four top laurels at ...

Apr 15 2014Dubai to start testing USD1 b Tram project ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will soon start the second phase of testing Dubai Tram project, which worth USD1 billion, according to Arabian Business. Testing in the second ...

Apr 15 2014KUWAIT DECLARATION CALLS FOR BOLSTERING ARAB TIES ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city march 26 (agencies): arab leaders called wednesday for a political solution to the conflict in syria overlooking saudi-backed demands for greater military ...

Apr 15 2014Kuwait- Amir thanks ministers and senior officials for 'constructive' summit ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city march 27 (agencies): his highness the amir sheikh sabah al-ahmad al-jaber al-sabah sent letters of appreciations to senior officials and ministers for their ...

Apr 15 2014Reactions positive to Arab Summit hosted by Kuwait ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Capitals march 28 (kuna): several arab governments are pleased with the outcomes of the wednesday-concluded two-day arab summit held in kuwait with some non-arab observers ...

Apr 15 2014Kuwait urges world to safeguard human rights ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Geneva march 28 (kuna): kuwait called on friday on the international community take responsibility in safeguarding human rights urging all countries to follow the vienna ...

Apr 15 2014Kuwait pays heed to intellectual property protection ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait march 30 (kuna): kuwait attaches much attention to intellectual property protection due to its significance to the economic development process said a senior commerce ...

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
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

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
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

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


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help