Islamist threat at home forces Saudi rethink on Syria

By REUTERS
February 11, 2014 19:08

 
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RIYADH - After serving for years as the main conduit for weapons and cash to rebels battling Syria's Bashar Assad, Saudi Arabia is shifting its policy to contain the spread of Islamist militancy at home, diplomats and figures close to the government say.

Riyadh is concerned that radicalism among rebels in Syria will boost al-Qaida at home in Saudi Arabia, which suffered a blowback last decade when fighters from the network of Osama bin Laden - himself a Saudi - returned from jihad in Afghanistan.

Saudi leaders are still determined to help rebels bring down Assad, an ally of their main rival Iran, but their heightened focus on security at home suggests they may temper some of the effort.

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