Against the backdrop of a possible U.S.-led attack on targets in Syria, tensions are rising between the Syrian regime and the Saudi kingdom; the latter has been playing a central role in supporting the Syrian opposition, and has been acting in the international arena in an attempt to bring about the ouster of Bashar Al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia's active support of the Syrian uprising has been ongoing for the past two years. Saudi King 'Abdallah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz was one of the first Arab leaders to break the silence of the Arab world over the events in Syria, when, in August 2011, he demanded that Assad "halt [his] war machine." Since then, Saudi Arabia has, along with Qatar and Turkey, led the bloc of countries supporting the Syrian opposition and has played a dominant role in assisting this opposition, both politically and militarily.
On the political level, Saudi Arabia has been involved in selecting the political and military leadership of the Syrian opposition; in addition, Saudi officials have called for arming the opposition and overthrowing the Assad regime. On the military level, the kingdom has provided aid, weapons, and ammunition to the Syrian rebels.
Saudi Arabia's conspicuous support of the Syrian opposition has sparked tension and even hostility between it and the Syrian regime. Saudi officials, and especially Foreign Minister Sa'ud Al-Faisal, repeatedly stress that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who is "perpetrating a systematic mass extermination of his people," has lost its legitimacy and must go. On numerous occasions, these officials have also called on the international community to arm the Syrian opposition and to take a firm stand against Assad. On the other hand, Syrian officials, beginning with Assad himself and his foreign minister, Walid Al-Mu'allem, repeatedly accuse Saudi Arabia of dispatching terrorists to fight in Syria and of arming these terrorists, and of responsibility for the violence in the country and for the deaths of thousands.
The tension between Saudi Arabia and Syria has peaked in recent weeks; as Qatar and Turkey have both significantly scaled back their role in supporting the Syrian opposition, Saudi Arabia has placed itself squarely at the head of the anti-Assad camp.
Following reports of the August 21, 2013 chemical attack in Al-Ghouta near Damascus, in which over a thousand Syrian civilians were killed, Saudi Foreign Minister Sa'ud Al-Faisal urged the U.N. Security Council to do its duty and pass a resolution that would end the Syrian tragedy. He said that the Assad regime had "lost its Arab identity and no longer belong[ed] to the Arab civilization." The Syrian regime, for its part, said that the attack had been perpetrated by "terrorists" operating in Syria who had received the chemical weapons from Saudi Arabia.
The tension between the two sides was also reflected in the media, with the Saudi media publishing articles lambasting Assad, comparing him to Hitler and even hoping for his death, and the Syrian media publishing equally harsh anti-Saudi articles attacking its royal family and predicting the kingdom's imminent disappearance from the map of the Middle East.
The following are excerpts from some of these articles in the Saudi and Syrian media.
Alarabiya.net: Assad, Born September 11, Will Wind Up Like Hitler And Saddam – He Too Will Fall In The Month Of His Birth
In a discussion of a possible U.S. military attack on Syria, Alarabiya.net, the website of the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel, pointed out in an August 27 article that Assad's birthday is in September, when the attack could occur – and that September could also prove to be the month of Assad's death, or at the very least, of the end of his regime. The website added that other enemies of the U.S., such as Hitler and Saddam Hussein, had died or fallen during their birth month due to U.S. military intervention.
The Alarabiya.net article, featuring a photo of Assad celebrating a birthday (August 27, 2013).
"Every September 11 is an occasion for joy and festivity for Bashar Al-Assad, ever since his birth on September 11, 1965 in Damascus. This is his birthday – when he blows out the candles [in a number representing his] age on a cake, with well-wishers gathered around him.
"[At the same time], this [date] is, for the U.S., on the other side of the globe, a memorial day for the thousands killed in the terror attacks on New York and Washington.
"Alarabiya.net sees [this date of] September 11, which is in less than two weeks, as having a certain connection to the fate of Assad and his regime. This coincidence is curious, as this connection applied also to other enemies of the U.S. who preceded Bashar, and who were either born or came to power on the very date that their regimes later fell due to direct U.S. military intervention.
"Such a coincidence arouses concern for Assad, since for days now he has been surrounded by the [American] Sixth Fleet. For the first time, September 11 will arrive without him blowing out candles or receiving congratulations accompanied by gifts and fireworks. It is predicted that his 'gift' from the Americans in his birth month will be something he cannot imagine, [and that upon receiving it] he will be deafened by the noise of missiles and shelling from air and sea, instead of [birthday] songs and fireworks.
"In 2003, the Americans did something similar to Saddam Hussein, invading Iraq and within three weeks conquering most of it. On April 9, 2003 – a decade ago – they toppled Saddam's regime, in the [very] month that had once been the happiest in his calendar, as he was born April 28, 1937 in Tikrit and always celebrated his birthday in April. In April , this decisive invasion deprived him of joy and brought it to the Iraqis [instead].
"Adolf Hitler, too, was the Americans' No. 1 target, in World War II. An Alarabiya.net examination of the dates of his birth and of his fall showed that he was born April 20, 1889, and that he always celebrated his birthday in this month... The Americans invested all their strength in their participation in the military defeat of Nazism, and, in [a joint action] with the Soviets, in surrounding Hitler in his Berlin lair... On April 30, 1945, the Fuehrer committed suicide, shooting [himself] precisely 10 days after his birthday.
"Like him, dozens of other fuehrers ended their lives in their birth months, or in the months in which they came to power…"
Saudi Columnist: Assad Is A Cancer That Requires Chemotherapy
In an August 28 article in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi columnist Hussein Shubakshi argues that Bashar Al-Assad joins a historical procession of rulers who were criminals and mass-murderers, such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein: "Bashar Al-Assad is worthy of joining the most wretched and squalid rubrics of history, the rubric of mass-murdering rulers… History will not remember him as an ophthalmologist, a computer expert, or a [fluent] speaker of English – as the Syrian media customarily touted [him] in an attempt to persuade the world that he was a worthy successor to his father and that he differed from his father and would lead Syria into a new and progressive world. In actuality, he led it into a new world of devastation, destruction and disintegration, a world with an opening to hell and schism.
"Bashar Al-Assad will share this unique [hell] with disreputable criminals such as Pol Pot, the leader of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge militia, who murdered over two million Cambodians in order to remain in power. This was also done by the German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, both of whom were responsible for the murder of millions of their people. There are [examples] from the Arab [world] as well, [namely] Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi and Saddam Hussein. The latter used chemical weapons on the town of Halabja, killing over 5,000 people in a loathsome manner…
"Mankind, or part of it, has exploited the science of chemistry, like the other sciences, in order to advance itself and benefit people and bring progress into their lives. Ahmad Zewail, the great Egyptian scientist (who is in these very days battling illness, and I beseech Allah to grant him health and recovery), is one of the prominent individuals who excelled in chemistry and even won the Nobel Prize in [this field]. [On the other hand,] there are other Arabs, such as Bashar Al-Assad, Saddam Hussein, and 'Chemical' Ali Al-Majid who chose [to use] chemistry for the purposes of murder, terror and devastation. Bashar Al-Assad is a barbarous cancer that does nothing except kill his own people and destroy his own country. There is no 'final and conclusive' solution for cancer except chemotherapy…"
August 29, 2013 cartoon in Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: Assad ["lion" in Arabic] gets his mane shorn.
Article In Syrian Government Daily Teshreen: The Syrian People Will Erase Saudi Arabia From The Map Of The New Middle East
Fadia Jibril, a columnist for the Syrian government daily Teshreen whose pilot husband was killed last year by armed Syrian rebels, wrote in her August 25 column that Saudi Arabia was implementing "American-Zionist plans in the region," for instance by funding and employing Al-Qaeda forces in Syria, and predicted that Saudi Arabia would soon disappear from the map of the new Middle East. She wrote:
"Saudi Arabia's attitude towards Syria, and towards the resistance axis in general, is based on a secret hatred. [This hatred] emanates from a hostility that is as deep as the difference between the two countries [in terms of their] roles and objectives. Having received the leading [role] in solving the problems of the Middle East – after two players, Qatar and Turkey, were taken off [the field] and relegated to the back bench – Saudi Arabia recruited all its material, political, and media resources [for this task]. It brought together all the global terror networks that it is running – [including] the takfiri organizations of Al-Qaeda and other extremist forces – in order to realize the larger goal and to achieve what others have failed to achieve, [namely] neutralizing and eliminating Syria's role in the region. [It is pursuing this goal because Syria] is thwarting the expansion of the influence of Saudi Arabia, which is the front line of the CIA and the spearhead of the filthy American-Zionist plans in the region."
Later on in the article, Jibril claims that it was Israel and the U.S. that launched the Arab Spring, with the aim of entrapping the Arab states in a cycle of internal sectarian and religious violence, thereby exhausting them and ensuring Israel's security, and added that Saudi Arabia is using "its terror networks" to exacerbate the internecine fighting in the Arab countries: "By implementing an American plan, Saudi Arabia is trying to achieve two goals: first, to draw a [new] geopolitical map that ensures Israel's safety, and second, to create a reality that will keep the specters of change far away from it and eliminate the dangers that have begun to emerge on the kingdom's horizon. In our view, Saudi policy regards these two goals as a matter of survival...
"With America's blessing, [Saudi Arabia] is trying to resolve the Syrian crisis in its own Saudi way, in order to salvage the plan for dividing the region, which is drawing its last gasps on the Syrian front. [To this end, Saudi Arabia is] exacerbating the situation in Syria by flooding it with numerous Al-Qaeda jihad fighters and with advanced high-quality weapons..."
Jibril concludes by saying that Saudi Arabia's efforts to defeat the Syrian people are bound to fail, and that the Syrian people will eliminate Saudi Arabia from the map of the new Middle East: "Saudi Arabia, which is steering a leaking ship through a stormy [sea] whose waves are increasing in size, especially in Syria, is gambling and [jeopardizing] its fate in a regional arena where numerous goals [are at play] – an arena that is much bigger than [Saudi Arabia's] money and much deeper than its heretical Wahhabism (these two principles being the only two [guidelines] of the Saudi policy).
"Despite all its terroristic capabilities, the Aal Sa'ud [family]... fails to understand that it is facing [the Syrian people, which] has roots and is not alien corn like the Aal Sa'ud dynasty. The united Syrian nation, which is planted deep in the soil of its fathers and forefathers and has been so for thousands of years, and which gave mankind its first alphabet, can write the fate of the Aal Sa'ud [dynasty] in Ugaritic or Aramaic characters, if it so pleases. It is the will of each Syrian citizen that shall determine the fate and the new shape of the Middle East, and the Aal Sa'ud kingdom will vanish from this map – if not tomorrow, then [very] soon."
Another 'Teshreen' Article: The Aal-Sa'ud Family – An Ignorant, Miscreant Family That Steals The Country's Oil Revenues
Another article, published August 20, 2013 in Teshreen in response to the Saudi policy on Egypt and Syria, noted: "A ignorant, grudge-holding, miscreant family, that has taken over Najd and Hijaz and controls a sea of oil, wants to call itself a state on the authority of [its] money and of the strength of the American-English defense [that it receives]. This cannot happen as long as the Aal Sa'ud [family] thinks only of one thing – how to continue to plunder the oil resources.
"Eleven million barrels of oil are produced every day [in Saudi Arabia]; half the profits go into the pocket of 11,000 'princes' who understand nothing. The [quantity] of oil pumped every day from Najd and Hijaz by this insane manner indicates that the Aal Sa'ud [family] lusts for all the country's oil resources, [seeking to realize this] sooner rather than later, and operates according to the principle of après nous, le Déluge.
"The Aal Sa'ud [family] has trained, armed, and funded terrorists from across the world in Syria, and has urged them to destroy the country and lay waste to life there. If they only could, they would arm these terrorists with nuclear weapons in order to realize their aim – destroying Syria."
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 725, Gulf and Arab States Break Silence over Syria Crisis, August 17, 2011.
 Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), June 26, 2013.
 Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), August 22, 2013.
 Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), August 28, 2013.
 Dp-news.com, August 25, 2013.
 Takfir is the act of accusing other Muslims of heresy.
 Under the 1927 Treaty of Jeddah, the U.K. recognized King Abd Al 'Aziz ibn Sa'ud's sovereignty over Najd and Hijaz; in 1932, these two regions were united and formed the basis of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.