Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"The wind has changed direction"

"... The discord arising from the chemical weapons issue is now being felt in the political process as well. The United States has decided to work on the Syrian file with Russia, which means Qatar and Turkey's time is up. According to the Lebanese daily As-Safir, the new Qatari emir, Tamim [bin Hamad al-Thani], has sent a message to Assad via Fatah official Abbas Zaki, relating his desire to improve relations. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who had relocated to Doha from Damascus, now says all popular movements must secure their rights through peaceful means. The wind has changed direction.The United States, which could not get what it wanted from the Turkey-Qatar axis, has now turned to the Saudis. The latest move on the chessboard is to expedite the activities of Jordan-based operational centers and the move by Liwa al-Islam — which is controlled by the Saudi intelligence services — to set up an Islamic army in Syria with 50 groups that were attached to the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Although the Saudis might wish to push for the removal of Assad, the United States hopes to put pressure on al-Qaeda with moderate Salafists and empower the opposition before going to Geneva. The road to Geneva has too many potholes. It looks increasingly difficult for the Saudi protege, Ahmad Jarba, to take the SNC as a unified body to Geneva. The head of the SNC, George Sarba, who is close to Ankara, announced they are not going to Geneva, while with the defection of 13 religious groups from the military wing, the National Coalition has lost relevance. The FSA is in turmoil. FSA spokesman Fahd al-Masri called the chief of staff of his army a “tool of the intelligence services.”..."

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