Earlier today we reported that Saudi Arabia has made a “final” decision to invade Syria.
Of course they won’t use the term “invade.” They’ll say the same thing the US says, which is that they need to send in a limited number of ground troops to help fight ISIS.
The timing of the announcement quite clearly suggests that the Saudis are going to try and shore up the rebels who are facing imminent defeat at Aleppo where Hezbollah, backed by Russian airstrikes, is about to overrun the opposition.
That outcome is unacceptable for the Saudis, who have been funding and supplying the Sunni opposition in Syria for years. For Turkey, it’s pretty much the same story. How Riyadh and Ankara plan to assist the rebels while maintaining the narrative that they’re only in the country to fight Islamic State is an open question, but one thing is for sure: it’s do or die time. In the most literal sense of the phrase. “Publicly, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are calling for troops to be deployed as part of the US-led international coalition already ranged against Isis,” FT wrote, earlier this week. “But regional observers say the moves are cover for an intervention to help the Syrian rebels.”
“If Saudi and Turkish forces were deployed at Syria’s northwestern border crossings with Turkey, for example, they would be inside Russia’s operational theatre,” The Times continues. “This would be a total nightmare for the US,” said analyst Aaron Stein, of the Atlantic Council in Washington. “What happens if Russia kills a Turk? They would be killing a Nato member.”
Yes, a “total nightmare” for the US and to let one Iranian military source tell it, a “total nightmare” for the Saudis as well. Read below to see what Tehran thinks about Riyadh’s chances of securing a desirable outcome in Syria (note the reference to Saudi Arabia and Islamic State’s shared ideology):
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“It’s a joke. We couldn’t wish [for] more than that. If they can do it, then let them do it — but talking militarily, this is not easy for a country already facing defeat in another war, in Yemen, where after almost one year they have failed in achieving any real victory.”
“The Saudis might really take part in this war. Such a decision might come from the rulers of the kingdom without taking into consideration the capabilities of their troops, and here is where the tragedy would occur. They are not well-trained for such terrain. I’m not sure if they sorted out the supply routes they would use — this is assuming that they would only fight [IS] — but it’s obvious they [want to] implement their agenda, after their proxies failed.”
“This would mean a regional war. Mistakes can’t be tolerated, especially with the tension mounting around the region. It’s not about Iranians, but about all troops on the ground fighting with the Syrian army. How would the Syrian army deal with a foreign country on its soil, without its permission, and maybe aiming [guns] at them? That would be an occupation force. Can the Saudis control their army? Who can guarantee that some of them might not defect and join [IS]? They have the same ideology and they hold the same beliefs, and many of them are already connected [to IS].”
“The Saudis are simply putting themselves in a very weird position that might have a very dark end. The worst thing is that the implications aren’t only going to affect the region, but world peace.”