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A Saudi-Syrian Rapprochement? 10, March 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, Saudi Arabia, Syria.
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The Khaleej Times has an interesting article discussing Saudi attempts to affect a rapprochement with Syria. It is no secret (to put it mildly) that as a rule Saudi and Syria often find themselves on opposite sides of the fence. Relations plummeted after the (alleged…) Syrian backed killing of Rafik al Hariri, the Saudi citizen and general Saudi protégé, in Beirut in 2005. Their relations were further frozen when Saudi, amongst others, pressured Syria to withdraw from Lebanon the same year.

Such a reconciliation and potential augmentation of their relationship would dovetail perfectly with Saudi’s grand strategy to weaken Iran or at least, improve their hand against Tehran. With Syria and Iran being close allies for nearly three decades now, their alliance of interest, commonality and practicality, will be difficult to break up. However, Saudi has the money to potentially have a reasonable go at doing just that. Indeed, this is something that Iran can most certainly not offer Syria: ready cash. Just how much money talks, however, remains to be seen. It is worth remembering that American  is seeking to get Syria onside too. Thus Syria has two potential cash cows to milk, should they choose to. Needless to say, Assad will have to walk this particular tightrope very carefully. Being seen as giving in to America (akin to Libya, for example), abandoning their traditional ally Iran when they are clearly standing up to the Americans and siding with the ‘half-men’ of hereditary rule in the Gulf, whom the Syrian President ridiculed recently, would lose him significant credibility which, being unpopular domestically in Syria already, he can ill afford.

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1. Syria’s Assad ready to mediate with Iran: report (AFP) — But As For Me - 18, March 2009

[…] A Saudi-Syrian Rapprochement? « The Gulf blog […]


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