Middle East supporters of the Sunni-dominated rebel forces led by Saudi Arabia,
Qatar and Turkey are exasperated with the hesitation of Western countries but
are holding out in expectation that attacks will eventually occur. On the other
side, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah are gloating over the perceived failure and
weakness of Britain and the US as well as the delay in plans to
Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it was time for the world to do
everything it could to prevent aggression against the Syrian people, and that it
would back a US strike on Syria if the Syrian people did.
Minister Saud al-Faisal made his comments as the United States prepares strikes
against the Syrian government, blaming it for a chemical gas attack that killed
hundreds of civilians.
“We call upon the international community with all
its power to stop this aggression against the Syrian people,” Faisal said in
Cairo, where he was attending a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers to
On the prospect of a US strike, he said: “We stand by the
will of the Syrian people. They know best their interests, so whatever
they accept, we accept, and whatever they refuse, we
Representing Saudi opinion, Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg, writing in
the Saudi Arab News on Sunday, urged the international community to act against
Syrian President Bashar Assad: “But is it really true that there is nothing else
that can be done? Are we really that paralyzed? Or could the international
community act, legitimately and legally, to protect civilians in Syria…”
Aluwaisheg went on to say that the example of the West’s intervention in Kosovo
in the late 1990s should be used as a model for an operation in Syria. The idea
behind the intervention, which he says is relevant today is that “state
sovereignty is not absolute, but conditioned by other norms and
International law forbids war crimes and the Syrian regime’s
“Ghouta massacre” fits perfectly into what the law is meant to prevent. Hence,
action should be taken immediately and consent from the UN Security Council is
not required, he said.
Tariq Alhomayed, writing in the Saudi backed
popular London based daily Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday, responded that Iran is the
real issue, with its efforts to take advantage of international divisions and
weakness: “Therefore, we can be certain that Iran has absorbed the British
message – namely that the international community is divided, and is not serious
about dealing with vital issues, including the use of chemical weapons in Syria,
not to mention the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the Assad
He went on to say that Washington “is making these costly
foreign policy fumbles” and Obama’s statements “are likely to lead to disasters
today, and these could engulf the entire region tomorrow.”
unexpected comment, an Iranian news agency quoted former president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani as saying Syria’s government had attacked its own people with
chemical weapons, but later replaced the report with a different version that
did not attribute blame for the raid.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali
Larijani seemed to set the record straight on Sunday, saying that world opinion
stood against any international attack on its ally Syria, pointing to the
British parliament’s rejection of military action.
Iran has said the
poison gas attack on civilians was carried out by rebels trying to oust Assad, not by Assad’s government.
Another Iranian legislator, Abdolreza
Azizi, in a speech on Sunday warned against the intervention of “international
“Iranians, Muslims, and freedom- seekers of the world are
standing for their belief in peace in the region and they will not compromise on
that, let alone tolerate an attack on another Muslim country like Syria which is
at the forefront of the resistance,” Azizi said, according to parliamentary news
“The Americans don’t see the wave of hatred of people
against their warmongering policies and continue to pursue military actions
against Syria, even though these actions have been thwarted in the UN Security
Council and the British parliament has stated its opposition to military
activity,” Larijani said, according to the ISNA news agency.
Assad said on Sunday Syria was capable of confronting any external aggression
and that threats of a US strike would not discourage the country from a fight
against what it described as “terrorism.”
In his first comments since
Obama’s speech, Assad said: “Syria... is capable of confronting any external
aggression,” state television quoted him as saying during a meeting with Iranian
“The American threats of launching an attack against Syria
will not discourage Syria away from its principles... or its fight against
terrorism supported by some regional and Western countries, first and foremost
the United States of America.”
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal
Mekdad said on Sunday Obama’s speech showed hesitation and confusion.
is clear there was a sense of hesitation and disappointment in what was said by
President Barack Obama yesterday. And it is also clear there was a sense of
confusion as well,” he told reporters in Damascus.
An editorial in
al-Thawra newspaper, Syria’s official daily, also criticized Obama’s move to go
“Obama announced yesterday, directly or through implication,
the beginning of the historic American retreat,” said the comments, which were
carried in a front-page editorial in al-Thawra.
Meanwhile, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari called on the UN secretary-general to prevent any attack on Syria, according to the text of letters sent to the UN and quoted by SANA, Syria’s state news agency.