20:58 GMT +317 August 2019
Listen Live
    A picture taken June 26, 2011 shows Saudi special forces graduates showing their skills during a ceremony held at their base near the capital Riyadh

    Putting Boots on the Ground in Syria Could be 'Quicksand' for Saudi Arabia

    © AFP 2019 / FAYEZ NURELDINE
    Middle East
    Get short URL
    12231

    Amid the additional burden of Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen, it will be impossible for the Saudis to achieve their goals in a simultaneous ground operation in Syria without the support of NATO and other allies, as the country does not have the resouces to wage war on two fronts.

    According to Defense News, Syria would become “quicksand” for Saudi Arabia, if Riyadh puts boots on the ground in the war-torn country. The Saudis, currently involved in a military conflict in Yemen, will quickly face a lack of resources in conducting two large-scale operations.

    “Saudi Arabia should be careful not to overstretch its military and diplomatic efforts, as Syria could be "quicksand" for them,” Paul Sullivan, National Defense University professor said, quoted by Defense News.

    Some experts believe that Saudi Special Forces are well prepared and could be deployed in Turkey for a brief time period, in preparation for a further operation Syria.

    "Their ability is to move in quickly and establish local partnerships. It’s modeled after the American approach. They are elite units. They are fast and mobile and with a full-spectrum capability to move and operate on short notice,” Oubai Shabandar, a former Pentagon official, stated.

    Analysts note that the lack of combat experience for much of the Saudi military could hamper Riyadh’s plans.

    “With only partial, previous combat experience, it is unlikely there will be enough [Saudi] troops ready and capable of contributing to both theaters [in Syria and Yemen],” Matthew Hedges, an expert in Middle Eastern military security, said.

    The situation in Syria is markedly different from that in Yemen. Geopolitical factors, including the involvement of Russia and Iran, complicate matters for the Saudis, Defense News noted.

    Shabandar underscored that Riyadh could not carry out two operations simultaneously without the military support of its allies.

    "A full-fledged Turkish-Arab conventional force incursion into northern Syria requires either a NATO air umbrella or international coalition support," he asserted.

    Jordan and Kuwait, two allies of Riyadh from the Gulf Cooperation Council, announced they would not take part in military operations in Syria, whether led by Saudis or Turks. Jordan stated that it would send troops to Syria, if the operation was approved by the UN and coordinated with Russia. Kuwait stressed that its constitution prohibits its country’s military from taking part in any fighting except that of a  defensive nature.

    A major question remains regarding the ongoing civil war in Syria, that of whether further intervention will help or hamper Daesh (ISIL). Other unknowns include delineating an exit strategy and a creating a roadmap to rebuild the country after the war ends, Defense News said.

    Related:

    Saudi Arabia Starts ‘Largest Ever’ Regional Military Drills Monday
    Turkey’s Attacks on Syrian Kurds Expose Deep Rift in US-Led Coalition
    Ankara, Riyadh 'Getting Desperate' Amid Syrian Army's Advances
    Syrian Army Victories Make Riyadh, Ankara Desperate
    Tags:
    Syrian conflict, Yemen conflict, military activity, boots on the ground, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Daesh, NATO, Yemen, United States, Saudi Arabia, Syria
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik