Syrian Research Roundtable Project From the Point of View of Saudi Arabia
Should Assad go?
Yes, it is time for Assad to step down. We in Saudi Arabia have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels because we feel it is time for new leader in serious. Saudi Arabia sees itself as the protector of Syria’s Sunni majority in a country governed by Mr. Assads Alawite minority.
What kind of pressure is appropriate?
So far Saudi Arabia has given money and small arms but many are calling for a larger effort to overthrow the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia is also paying the salaries of many effected Syrian officers and financing medical assistance to Syrian refugees.
What should regional powers do?
Many in Saudi Arabia want to take a stronger stance and give more money and heavier arms to Syria. Saudi Arabia has been discouraged by the United States which fears heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.
Should support be given to groups?
Saudi Arabia is doing what we can to help the rebels to defeat Assad. The Syrian government has tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. The UN has warned of rising tensions and has urged those supplying weapons on both sides to stop doing so. Although Saudi Arabia is deeply concerned we need the support of the UN and the United States.
Should you take direct military action?
Saudi Arabia feels without the help of the UN and the United States direct military action is unwise at this time. Saudi Arabia would support the United States and the UN in their efforts. Saudi Arabia will not go out on their own and take direct military action at this time.
Saudi Arabia feels that safe zones are a good idea but we need the United States and the UN to support us in helping provide this for Syria. The Syrian dictator has refused to loosen his ruthless hold on power and he has shown an unwillingness to and internal bloodshed. If the United States used air power to impose a safe zone in northern Syria they could add a partial no-fly zone and create a protected space for the civilians to find refuge and humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia could provide critical training, equipment, and humanitarian aid in the safe zones.