Bob Woodward propagandizes for the Saudi prince Bandar in the Washington Post:An excerpt from, "The Saudi Leadership Crisis" by Madawi Al-Rasheed, Al Monitor, November 1:
Persian Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, are moving to strengthen their military support for Syrian rebels and develop policy options independent from the United States in the wake of what they see as a failure of U.S. leadership following President Obama’s decision not to launch airstrikes against Syria, according to senior gulf officials.In another attempt to unify the Syrian opposition the Saudis want to build a complete new external army with weapons from France and Pakistani special force training. That army is then supposed to defeat the Syrian government.
It is not going to work writes Carnegie's Yezid Sayigh:
This Saudi effort will only serve to further polarize the rebels. The main losers are likely to be the currently recognized leaders of the opposition—the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the allied Higher Military Council of the Free Syrian Army.That prediction was quite good. The head of Revolutionary Military Council of the so called Free Syrian Army, Abdul-Jabbar-Akidi just resigned. This came after his loss of Safira and the reopening of the government supply line between Damascus and Aleppo. Several Damascus suburbs were also recently cleared of insurgency forces.
Unless the Saudi-supported rebels adhere to an agreed political strategy and buy into being represented by the National Coalition, they are likely to suffer the same lack of cohesion and capacity as those they seek to supplant. And by funding its own chosen group of rebels, Saudi Arabia too risks slamming shut its windows of opportunity and undercutting its goals in Syria.
Externally, Saudi Arabia has failed to recognize its limited capacities when dealing with regional issues from the occupation of Iraq to the recent Syrian crisis. As it has inflated its role in the region and sold propaganda about this role to its own constituency, any setback is immediately considered as threatening its stature. Saudis have been sold a good amount of propaganda about their government’s commitment not only to Arab causes, but also those of the Muslim world. Statistics about its overseas spending on these causes make big news, but not recently.An excerpt from, "Syria Kurds rout jihadists across northeast: monitor" AFP, November 4:
While in the past Saudis took for granted that their government should help Arabs and Muslims, more recently they have begun to resent this charity. The more they experience duress in meeting basic needs, the more they question the logic of dedicating a considerable amount of wealth to helping others. Why should new housing complexes be built in neighboring countries as gifts from the Saudi government while more than 70% of Saudis do not own a house? Such legitimate questions have been suppressed in the past but now ordinary citizens often ask them. Saudis are more inclined to question their government’s logic in pursuing charitable projects abroad as they become more aware of their own unmet needs. They have also learned the hard way that patronizing the Arabs has not always pacified them or turned them into straightforward clients.
Kurdish fighters have driven jihadists from 19 towns and villages across northeastern Syria in recent days, a week after capturing a key Iraqi border crossing, a monitoring group said Monday.An excerpt from, "Turkey seizes huge chemical haul at Syria border" AFP, November 4:
The latest clashes came a week after Kurdish fighters seized the Yaarubiyeh crossing on the Iraq border, which had been a key transit point for arms and jihadist fighters carrying out attacks in both countries.
Turkish authorities have seized a large quantity of chemicals from a convoy trying to illegally enter the country from Syria, which “could be transformed into weapons”, the army said on Sunday.This last report is a bit dubious. The Jihadist terrorists who used chemical weapons on Syrian civilians earlier in the year have been protected by the Turkish government. Turkey is looking out for its own best interests in this particular case, but, no one should assume that it is worried about chemical weapons getting in the hands of al-Qaeda since it has looked the other way in the past.
The convoy of three vehicles refused to stop as it attempted to illegally cross the border on Saturday near the southeastern town Turkish town of Reyhanli, the army said in a statement.