21:36 GMT27 February 2020
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    Saudi Arabia’s military operation in Syria will only escalate the conflict and strengthen terrorist groups, yet another mistake by Riyadh and Washington, the Arab kingdom’s proxy, according to Princeton Woodrow Wilson School research scholar and former Iranian diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian.

    Washington and Riyadh do not learn from their mistakes, the analyst wrote for Al-Monitor, suggesting that the US is delusional if it believes that Syria will follow Egypt's scenario.

    "The United States supported the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and even flirted with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States made the mistake of believing that Syria could follow in Egypt's footsteps, even though Syria had a far more sensitive sectarian and political balance than either of those countries," Mousavian wrote.

    Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar threw away their good relations with Syria as soon as they saw an opportunity for Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood to take over, seeking to achieve their goal at any price, by supporting extremists and bringing down the alawis. According to the diplomat, it was another mistake.

    Mousavian states that the Obama administration saw an opportunity to bring down the current Syrian government, but the five-year US policy in the region has rendered the resignation of Bashar Assad impossible.

    He further asserts that Washington shouldn't have let US Ambassador in Syria Robert Ford participate in demonstrations against the Syrian government, as it gave extremists the impression that Washington was on their side.  

    But the biggest US failure, according to Mousavian, was the decision to delegate authority for the creation of the Geneva-1 agreement to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Instead of diplomacy, those countries launched a major military attack, coupled with financial support, by using Syrian opposition factions. Assad had to answer with the all military capacity at his disposal, and that threw the chance for a peaceful resolution into the gutter.

    Syrian opposition, by any definition, has no credible leader, the analyst said. The legitimate Syrian army had to seek external assistance, and the conflict escalated, leading to an enormous, era-defining refugee crisis.

    All the groups that consider themselves "opposition" depend on sponsors, including tribal and regional affiliations, and they often shift allegiances and are led by religious fanatics seeking intractable goals, Mousavian states.

    "Every foreign member of IS [Daesh], al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra has entered Syria via NATO-member Turkey, where in many instances they were supplied with money, weapons, drugs, women and training camps and then sent off to Syria", he suggests.

    Saudi Arabia's operation, backed by Washington, will only help Daesh bolster its ideological position, and the consequences, already dire, will be disastrous, the diplomat said.


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    extremists, Daesh, Turkey, Syria, United States, Saudi Arabia
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