The danger that Saudi Arabia will turn Syria into an Islamist hotbed
A tentative UN-brokered ceasefire does not settle Western concerns over Saudi intervention in Syria. While the US and its allies are wary of seeing Syria become a sectarian battleground, the power brokers in Riyadh seem to have been hurtling toward it – with a form of state-sponsored jihad.
Even as a tentative ceasefire brings an uneasy calm to Syria, opposition leaders and US officials express skepticism that it will hold, particularly in the face of the Assad regime’s record of broken promises. Demonstrations planned for April 13 will test that commitment to stop the violence.
A UN-brokered ceasefire does not settle the concerns over what has been an increasingly aggressive Saudi intervention in Syria. While the United States and its allies are wary of seeing Syria become a sectarian battleground, the power brokers in Riyadh seem to have been hurtling toward it. The Saudis look to have clearly made the calculus that the potential fruit from toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and enthroning a Sunni aligned regime in Damascus is well worth the political risk.
The danger with this scenario is that while Saudi Arabia embarks on its jihad to topple Mr. Assad, it will get free reign in picking the winners and losers among the opposition – likely Islamist groups at the expense of moderates and secularists.
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