Saudi Arabia has been hosting a gathering of Syrian rebel groups, including terrorists, in the capital Riyadh.
Extremists from Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham had been invited while Kurdish militias and opposition parties in Syria’s parliament were excluded.
Ahrar al-Sham, later withdrew from the conference to try to unite the factions fighting against the Syrian government before potential talks with representatives of President Bashar al-Assad. Ahrar al-Sham later said in a statement that the conference “did not consider some of the key issues they, and other groups, wished to include in the discussions and that [the organisers] refused to emphasise the Muslim identity of our Muslim [Syrian] people.” Ahrar al-Sham has a controversial record in terms of human rights abuses and links to al-Qaeda.
The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, appeared to forget that he was Saudi and not Syrian. Wasn’t he born in Al Majma’ah, Saudi Arabia? Speaking at the summit he nonetheless claimed to speak for the Syrian people and dictate who should or who should not rule the country.
“Bashar al-Assad has two solutions: leave through negotiations, which is easier and better for all,” he said.
“Or he will have to leave through fighting, because the Syrian people refuse to allow this regime and person to stay in power.”
This is nothing new as the Saudis have been meddling in Syria for some time. After the Russian intervention in Syria al-Jubeir stated “There is no future for Assad in Syria,”. He spelled out that if the president did not step down as part of a political transition, his country would embrace a military option, “which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power”.
Many had doubts about the Conference from the start. Middle East expert and journalist Kara-Mustapha told PressTV, “There is a coalition of an enormous terrorist convention that is actually sitting together and deciding the fate of Syria without Syrians, without Syrian officials, without actually taking into account what Syrians want and all this is happening in Saudi Arabia, the most reactionary and the most undemocratic nation in the Arab world.”
She says Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the meeting in the absence of Syrian delegations indicates the “absurdity” of the gathering in Riyadh, emphasizing that the meeting should not be given any importance.
The fact that the Kurds are not taking part in the Saudi-hosted meeting proves it is “pointless,” she says, adding that, “When you have heard the coalitions are saying they are willing to make no concessions with the Syrian government, I think it shows this isn’t a peace meeting, but rather an ultimatum meeting that is simply designed to maintain the war.”