While Russian and Syrian bombers still attack terrorist positions in Syria on daily basis, Saudi Foreign minister does not believe WW3 will happen in Syria and suggests equipping terrorists with surface-to-air missiles.
Written by Mario Andrijasevic exclusively for SouthFront
In an interview conducted by the German Spiegel Online, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Saudis would provide moderate opposition groups in Syria surface-to-air missiles. Al-Jubeir said that, ground-to-air missiles would “allow the moderate opposition to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft of the regime” – and thus “change the balance of power just like these missiles have changed the balance in Afghanistan.”
When asked what Saudi Arabia wants to achieve in Syria, al-Jubeir clearly said that in the long term Syria will still exist as it is today, but without Bashar Assad. And continued that the longer it will take for this to happen the worse it will get. Saudi FM mentions two ways to resolve the Syrian issue, and both of them end up without Bashar Assad.
As first, “there is a political process which we are trying to achieve through what is called the Vienna Group. That involves the establishment of a governing council, which is to take power away from Bashar Assad, to write a constitution and to open the way for elections, said al-Jubeir.”
When asked what the other option is, he answered, “The other option is that the war will continue and Bashar Assad will be defeated. If, as we decided in Munich, there will be a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance can flow into Syria — then this will open the door for the beginning of the political transition process. We are at a very delicate juncture, and it may not work, but we have to try it. Should the political process not work, there is always the other approach.”
Spiegel magazine continues with Medvedev´s statement when he spoke of the danger of “World War III” at the Munich Security Conference, asking al-Jubeir about his opinion on this.
Saudi FM replied that he thinks Medvedev´s statement is an over-dramatization and continues with the fact how everything began when you had eight- and nine-year-old children writing graffiti on the walls. Their parents were told: “You will never see them again. If you want to have children, go to your wife and make new ones.” Then his people rebelled and he crushed them brutally. He knew his army cannot protect him, so he asked Iranians to come and help him.
Iran sent its Revolutionary Guards into Syria, they brought in Shia militias, Hezbollah from Lebanon, militias from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, all Shia, and they couldn’t help. Now he brought the Russians and even they won’t be able to save him, said al–Jubeir.
And now we have an ongoing war with Daesh which is the reason we´ve developed a coalition, led by the US, with Saudi Arabia being one of the first members of that coalition. Saudi Arabia has always said if the coalition will engage in ground operations, we will participate with our special forces.
The Russians say their objective is to defeat Daesh, too. If the deployment of ground troops helps in the fight against Daesh, why would that automatically mean the beginning of World War III? Is Russia worried that defeating Daesh will open the door for defeating Bashar Assad? However, I don’t think World War III is going to happen in Syria, said al-Jubeir.
Accoriding to al-Jubeir he sees relationship with Russia still very good, even though they disagree over Syria. Saudis see this disagreement more of a tactical one than a strategic one. Saudi Arabia as well as Russia want to see unified and stable Syria, where all Syrians enjoy equal rights.
“Twenty million Russians are Muslims. Like Russia, we have an interest in fighting radicalism and extremism, said Saudi FM.
The interview then continued with the Iran and its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Al-Jubeir stated that after their revolution of 1979, Iran embarked on a policy of sectarianism and began a policy of expanding its revolution with interfering with the affairs of its neighbors, said Saudi FM.
According to him Iran is not only responsible for a number of terrorist attacks in the Kingdom, but also for smuggling explosives and drugs into Saudi Arabia and setting up sectarian militias in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, whose objective is to destabilize those countries.
Al-Jubeir denies every claim of Iranian Foreign Minister that Saudis are financing the extremist groups, such as al-Qaida, the Syrian al-Nusra and other groups.
“We don’t tolerate terrorism. We go after the terrorists and those who support them and those who justify their actions. Our record has been very clear, contrary to their record”, said Saudi FM.
When asked if he is contesting the similarities between the extremely conservative interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia and Islamic State’s religious ideology, al-Jubeir compared ISIS to KKK in America. He said ISIS is as much an Islamic organization as the KKK in America is a Christian organization. They burned people of African descent on the cross, and they said they’re doing it in the name of Jesus Christ. He added that it is unfortunate that in every religion there are people who pervert the faith.
Concerning the human rights issue in Saudi Arabia, al-Jubeir said that even though their legal system sometimes shock the world, having in mind the example when on Jan 2., 47 men were beheaded and among them Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the world should respect their law and not intervene in their internal affairs. He continues with how the US and Iran also have capital punishment. He mentions how in Iran they hang people and leave their bodies hanging on cranes. Clearly upset he said “Iran put to death more than a thousand people last year. I don’t see you reporting on it.”
When asked about Nimr al-Nimr, Saudi FM said Nimr was a terrorist. That he recruited, he plotted, he financed terrorists and as a consequence of his actions a number of Saudi Arabian police were killed. He was put on trial, went to the supreme court, and the sentence was death.
The interview then continues with the crisis in Yemen. According to the United Nations, about 6000 people have been killed in Yemen since the beginning of the Saudi Arabian offensive in March 2015.
When asked what Saudi Arabia wants to achieve with this war he replied, that the war in Yemen is not a war that they wanted. He says they had no other option, because there was a radical militia allied with Iran and Hezbollah that took over the country. This militia was in possession of heavy weapons, ballistic missiles and even an air force.
“We cannot stand by idly while this happens at our doorstep, in one of the countries in which al-Qaida has a huge presence.” said al-Jubeir.
In conclusion al-Jubeir was asked if the Saudis feel somehow threatened by the Iranian nuclear deal between the US and Iran. He said that they support any deal which denies Iran to develop nuclear weapons, that has a continuous and robust inspection mechanism and that has snap-back provisions in case Iran violates the agreement.