November 5, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3350

Editor of Pro-Syrian Lebanese Daily: Saudi Arabia Has Lost, Should Join Iran and Syria

November 5, 2010
Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iran | Special Dispatch No. 3350

Against the backdrop of the crisis created by Hizbullah over the indictment to be issued by the Al-Hariri tribunal, the editor of the pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim Al-Amin, published two articles in which he called upon Saudi Arabia to increase its cooperation with Syria vis-à-vis Lebanon. He wrote that since Saudi Arabia has failed in its efforts to improve the political situation in Lebanon and Iraq, and since the pro-American camp in the Middle East has lost its struggle with the pro-Iranian camp, Saudi Arabia must acknowledge its defeat and start cooperating with Syria and Iran. Al-Amin added that if the crisis of the international tribunal is not resolved to Hizbullah's and Syria's satisfaction, a conflict will break out that will not end with a political compromise, as is usually the case in Lebanon, but with a decisive victory for Syria and Hizbullah.

Following are excerpts from the articles:

Saudi Arabia Must Realize that the American Project in the Region has been Defeated

In the first article, Al-Amin wrote: "The horizon for contacts between Saudi Arabia and Syria has not yet closed up completely, and the two sides' mutual need for each other is reason enough to continue [these contacts]. But the fact that the outstanding problems between them have not found any real resolution in the last three years reveals that it is not possible to [just] turn over a new leaf and erase all former [difficulties]... Damascus, which has suffered greatly as a result of the Saudi policy [towards it] in the last five years, and which is still being subjected to the same pressures, feels unwilling to take an approach [aimed at] relieving or containing these pressures. [Today] more than ever it wishes to acquire the ability to deal with the upcoming new wave in the conflict with Israel, which is the core issue.

"[The recent developments] – what is happening in Iraq, what is brewing in Lebanon, and what is expected to occur in the Palestinian territories – are all headed in the same direction. The tensions slowly spreading through some of the Gulf countries and in the south of the Arabian Peninsula [i.e., in Yemen], as well as the shift in the status and positions of Turkey, all have to do with the new strategic configuration that is emerging in the region, following the unexpected failure of the American project launched in response to 9/11.

"Much has been said about the Shi'ite crescent and the [new] Persian empire, and much has been said about the Shi'ite efforts to take over the region... There has also been talk about Syria's involvement in an Iranian campaign aimed at taking over the Arab resources, among other [goals]. Saudi Arabia, then, must either take the role of a partner [in these developments] or the role of the defeated and disappointed [party].

"The involvement of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE in the American project – even if accompanied by disagreements [between these countries and the U.S.] – has become a real burden for the U.S. administration itself, because these regimes have played no effective role in confronting the local forces that are leading the most violent resistance to the American occupation. Saudi Arabia has failed in suppressing the various jihadists, and it fears that at some point these will evolve into a revolutionary force that will overthrow the [Saudi] government. [As for] Egypt, it has not only failed to deter and suppress the Palestinian 'resistance' in Gaza and in the [other] Palestinian territories, it has also failed to gain any status in Sudan and in the Horn of Africa, and has found itself isolated from the other North African [countries].

"Regarding Jordan, the signs and data emerging from there... indicate a seething [under the surface] that can erupt at any moment in the form of a coup by [elements within] the regime or in the form of civil war. The most worrying development there at the moment is the plan to sell the country's public sector, and the gradual dismantling of the military apparatus and its replacement with a security apparatus that provides services to external [forces].

"Turning to the UAE, the fact that its leadership chose to confront those coming from across the Gulf [i.e., from Iran] has placed it in a very embarrassing position. The systematic deportation of Lebanese, Palestinian, and other Arabs [from the country] by its security forces, on the grounds that they support the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance, has reached the level of severe persecution. The domestic repercussions of this [policy] have been apparent in the last few weeks, in the form of [various] sanctions and limitations imposed on the UAE press, with various excuses.

"Moreover, those in Palestine and in the neighboring countries are not expecting any real solution to emerge from the talks currently taking place [between the Palestinian Authority and Israel], whereas the facts on the ground indicate that the Israelis and the 'resistance' forces are both preparing for a new round of hostilities.

"As for Lebanon, the American project that the March 14 Forces have been leading there has reached its end... The current developments are about to enter more sensitive phases, and there may be civilian casualties throughout [the country] – it all depends on the level of insanity and on the rhetoric that is getting shriller and shriller. But the solution will not be based on [the formula usually favored in Lebanon], where there is 'neither a victor nor a loser' – a [kind of] solution that has cost the Lebanese dearly again and again.

"The struggle is between two regional projects [that of the pro-American camp and that of the pro-Iranian camp], and Saudi Arabia should be the first country to realize this and to take the reasonable and intelligent course of action by agreeing to a redistribution of the resources in the Arab region. This will create a national equilibrium [in Lebanon] that will defend the people and their identity, and prevent an explosion. Sadly, the matter transcends the issue of the international tribunal and its indictments. All the bargaining will be to no avail – it will not [succeed in] either hobbling the 'resistance' forces or in bringing the corpse [of the American project] back to life, since [this project] died a long time ago, and it's only the announcement of its burial that has been delayed."[1]

In Both Iraq and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia Needs the Help of the Pro-Iranian Camp

In the second article, Al-Amin stresses that Saudi Arabia has failed in its efforts to steer the political processes in Iraq and in Lebanon and to dictate the makeup of their governments. Therefore, it should recognize its need for the help of Iran, Turkey, and especially Syria in handling the situation in both these countries. Al-Amin also calls on the Saudis to join in the efforts to dismantle the Al-Hariri tribunal.

"In June 2009, Saudi Arabia funded the election campaign of the March 14 Forces in Lebanon, with the support of Egypt and the U.S. Not a single weapon was left unused in the campaign to keep the [supporters of] Syrian-Iranian axis from attaining a majority in the parliament. [But] the goal was not achieved. By cleaving to the reins of power, [the March 14 Forces only] succeeded in bringing the situation back to what it was immediately after May 7, 2008 [i.e., Hizbullah's takeover of Beirut]. Thus, it failed in its efforts [to create] a new formula, whereby May 7 [2008] would be wiped out by June 7 [2009, namely the day of the elections].

"As a result, Saudi Arabia was forced to seek a true partnership with Syria in handling the Lebanese dossier. This [partnership] was translated into an internal [Lebanese] agreement to the effect that the [Lebanese] parliamentary elections would be of no consequence, and thus the extensive [election] fraud perpetrated [by the March 14 Forces] by means of its campaign and [by manipulating] the voting, capital[-spending], and legal apparatuses would not change the facts on the ground...

"Saudi Arabia did not take a lesson from this, and repeated the same moves in Iraq. [It launched] a media and political campaign that accompanied the elections there, employing subterfuge to try and [circumvent] the solid political reality, and spending two billion dollars to support the parties of its choice... But the election results were not enough to change the [reality] in the Iraqi arena – especially since Saudi Arabia waged the campaign under the same slogan it had [used] in Lebanon: preventing the Syrian-Iranian axis from taking over [the country].

"The party Saudi Arabia supported [indeed] won a large number of seats in parliament – but this did not help it lead the country. It was months before the U.S. was finally convinced that [election] results achieved through sectarian incitement and political funding could not be [accepted]... Much mayhem had to occur before Iran and the U.S. – and recently also Syria – reached an agreement that the new Iraqi government could not be established based on Saudi Arabia's dictates.

"Saudi Arabia was [thus] humiliated once again. Now it is waiting for Syria's efforts – in coordination with Iran and additional countries, especially Turkey – to yield a [Iraqi] government with a balanced national makeup, which that will prevent an explosion of civil [strife] even greater than what Iraq is experiencing today. Saudi Arabia must come to an understanding with Syria on this matter, otherwise it will be taking the wager of its life – [a wager that will most likely] end with [Saudi Arabia] withdrawing from the Iraqi [arena] and leaving behind it [nothing but] anarchy and destruction.

"The situation in Lebanon requires a different kind of rapprochement. Syria knows that it cannot rule there alone. [As for] Iran, its role in Lebanon is nowhere near as important as its role in Iraq. Turkey, which has [only] begun to form ties of friendship in Lebanon, cannot purport to play a helpful role [there]. Syria is therefore compelled to try and reach understandings with Saudi Arabia on many Lebanese issues. The developments of the last five years give Syria much room for maneuvering, whereas Saudi Arabia feels the siege tightening around it, and has realized that relying on Egypt is not helpful these days...

"The talks that recently took place between Syrian President [Bashar Al-Assad] and Saudi Prince 'Abd Al-'Aziz bin 'Abdallah, dealing with the situation in Lebanon,[2] reflected the true power[-relations] between the two sides in this arena. These [power-relations] mean that difficult times lie ahead for Lebanon, unless the 'Arabs of America' [i.e., the pro-U.S. Arab regimes] internalize the new order and acknowledge their defeat. The Syrians have said plainly to the Saudis, the French and the Americans that the case [being reviewed by] international tribunal must be closed, because it can lead to a large-scale civil war. If these [countries] don't listen, the developments in Lebanon will bring about the defeat [of the pro-American camp, regardless of] all its threats to leave anarchy and destruction behind it.[3]


[1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 5, 2010.

[2] Prince 'Abd Al-'Aziz handles the contacts regarding Lebanon and Syria on behalf of his father, the Saudi king.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), October 7, 2010.

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