March 28, 2018 Special Dispatch No. 7401

Saudi Government Daily: Removing Assad From Power And Prosecuting Him For War Crimes Are The Top Priority

March 28, 2018
Saudi Arabia, Syria | Special Dispatch No. 7401

In its March 18, 2018 editorial, the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh wrote that, in light of the atrocities perpetrated by the Syrian regime against its people, as currently exemplified by the massacre in eastern Ghouta, and given the helplessness of the international community to stop the tragedy in Syria, the demand now is not just for a political solution to the Syrian crisis but for removing Bashar Al-Assad and prosecuting him for war crimes.

It should be noted that, in the recent year, Saudi Arabia appeared to backtrack somewhat from its firm demand for Assad's ouster as a precondition for resolving the crisis in Syria. This was expressed, for example, in its support for the de-escalation agreements sponsored by Russia, and in its efforts to incorporate Syrian opposition groups close to Cairo and Moscow, which are not demanding Assad's ouster as a condition for resolving the Syrian crisis, in the High Negotiations Committee (the official opposition representative to the Geneva talks).[1]

The following are excerpts from the Al-Riyadh editorial:[2]

"Ever since the Syrian people rose up against the oppressive Bashar Al-Assad regime in 2011 and against its policy of suppressing freedoms and violating human rights, the Syrian citizen has been experiencing disasters and tragedies that bring him closer to death every day. The original demand was only for reforms, but the regime's reaction to the people's [protests] – with deadly live gunfire – naturally led to a demand for its ouster.

"Assad did not suffice with unjustified violence towards his citizens, but rushed to compromise Syria's territorial integrity by involving other countries [in the war] that are interested in nothing but their own interests. The Iranians, whose hands are red with the blood of innocents, and Hizbullah, steeped to the neck in terrorism and crimes, which are collaborating with the modern tyrant [Assad], as well as Russia's arsenal, and its [UN Security Council] vetoes –have all defended and propped up this criminal regime and fueled the ongoing deadly conflagration in Syria.

The horrifying images that are emerging from eastern Ghouta today only one brutal example of the killing and expulsion of millions of Syrians as a result of the terror of the regime and its supporters. [This is occurring] amid the blatant helplessness of the UN and its Security Council, for the criminals are perpetrating their crimes in broad daylight, with impunity.

"Today the demand is not just for a political solution, but for giving priority to the removal of Bashar Al-Assad. That is what the Syrian opposition stresses again and again. But it is not enough to remove [Assad] without prosecuting him for the atrocities he has perpetrated against his people, [including] women, children and the elderly. Will the global conscience awaken and bring the head of the oppressive Syrian regime to the International Court of Justice, as was done with previous war criminals?"


[2] Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 18, 2018.

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