The purposes of the Riyadh Meeting

The movements of the Saudi Arabian government after the Gaza War, where the Zionist army was defeated, are trying to show that this victory was accomplished by the political efforts of Saudi Arabia and Egypt – enabling the resistance to succeed.

In the last few weeks a few Saudi Arabian officials have travelled to Damascus just as a number of Egyptian have as well. Jordan, by sending an official letter and a political representative, wanted to join forces with them. A few meetings took place chaired by King Abdullah and attended by some Arab heads of state, including the Syrian president. The latest meeting was last Wednesday in Riyadh where King Abdullah, the kind of Saudi Arabia, Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabbah, the prince of Kuwait, and Bashar Asad, the president of Syria attended.

The Saudi king announced in an economical meeting of the heads of Arab states held in Kuwait the day after the Gaza War ended: “Now the time to bury the differences of Arabs has come.” Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister took a step further and said in an interview: “The Kuwait Summit buried the differences of Arabs.” The Syrian president rejected this. Bashar Asad, in an interview with the Emirate newspaper Dar al-Khaleej, said: “We are now trying to make up and we cannot confirm that we do not have any differences with each other.”

Immediately after the meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, Hosni Mubarak met with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman. The head of Mubarak’s office stated that it was a continuation of the Riyadh meeting. Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the League of Arab States, entered Damascus. It has been decided that there will be another meeting of Arab leaders in Qatar in the next few weeks.

This shows the unified activities of Riyadh, Amman, and Cairo around one foundational axis. Everyone knows that the Islamic resistance in the region is the biggest problem for the three Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan) and also the biggest problem for the Zionist regime, America, and the west. Since Syria has a strategic relationship with Iran and the resistances in Lebanon and Palestine, it has been given great importance by this group. American and Arab groups have clearly mentioned the possibility of separating Syria from Iran and the resistance and the possibility of establishing two states – Palestine and Israel – in the occupied territories if peace between Syria and Israel is accomplished. The political organization Khawar, close to Washington, announced in the Christian Science Monitor in regards to a conclusion about the political changes in the Middle East that America, through Saudi Arabia, will try its best to put Syria in line with American policies which would necessitate it distancing itself from Iran. This American publication clearly stated that the reason that Israel lost in its war against Palestine was because the Saudi Arabian-Egyptian pole has become weak.

The meetings and talks amongst the four countries (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria) and the multiple travels of political figures to and from these countries must bee looked at with precision. The reason for this is that the resistance in the Middle East depends on the strength of Iran and Syria. Any weakness will have foundational consequences in the Middle East. In order to look into this subject, it must be said that:

1. Syria has been struggling since 1967, when the Golan Heights and Jabal Sheikh were occupied by the Zionist regime. These two places were not only strategic and economical, but they were considered a sign of the existence of the government in Damascus. Now, Syria sees an international opportunity and wants to test what would happen by claiming the loss of Golan and Jabal Sheikh. The victory of the resistance in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon increases the world’s need of Syria in the eyes of Bashar. From another angle, Bashar Asad sees the dead-end that the meetings between Arab and Israeli figures in regards to the two-state solution have reached as another opportunity for Syria. The Syrian government does not give clear answers in regards to the questions about whether or not they are ready to change their relationship with the resistance or not. But, they emphasize that the peace process is not possible without the powers of the region – Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine – participating in it.

2. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are holding talks with Syria in order to weaken Iran and the Arab resistance in the region. They believe that if they tempt Syria with financial benefits and the return of the strategic Golan Heights then the chain of resistance in the region will be broken and the ancient Arab movement called nationalism will replace Islam. They believe that nationalism will be enlivened and honor will be returned to these two countries. Some time ago the president of Egypt in a public address stated: “Iran is stealing the Middle East and we cannot remain silent.” If he was more precise he would have stated that Islam has taken over the Middle East and that he must find a way to take control back. At the same time it must be said that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have an internal fight as well. Egyptians consider themselves the leaders of the Arab world while Saudi Arabia believes that their status has fallen in the last thirty years.

3. Jordan and Kuwait are playing a supportive role in this movement. They are not that important. But, the presence of Kuwait emphasized the principle role of Saudi Arabia and the presence of Jordan emphasizes the principle role of Egypt. King Abdullah of Jordan and Sheikh Ahmad Sabbah of Kuwait state that they benefits of their countries are in this movement. Jordan expects Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to save it from the economical fall that it is facing along with the whole world.

4. Saudi Arabia and Egypt face many problems in these talks. One of the problems is that they want Syria to trade the relationship that it has with the resistance, which is its strongest point of honor, for a promise to give back the Golan Heights. Bashar, even though he is young, knows well that political talks and promises from Arab governments have never given results. Because of this the president of Syria states that there are differences between the contracts of peace and real peace.

5. America, after the 22-Day-War against Gaza emphasized that Israel cannot fight and must improve their conditions through diplomacy. It seems far-fetched that America is hopeful that Syria will weaken their relation with Iran and the resistance. They believe that they can make Syria change a little bit and make them think about their relationship with Iran and with America. They believe that with this the progress of Islam in the Middle East will be thwarted and the possibility of American management over the region will increase. But, this issue is just American brainstorming.

6. Another side of this issue is the Zionist regime. This regime is in a very weak state right now and does not have the ability to discuss the issue of Golan. If they debate this topic, as Bashar says, they are not ready to agree to anything. The Zionist regime believes in its internal strength and if they give back Golan Heights they will loose their existence – just as retreating from Gaza four years ago caused them to loose their security. In these conditions it is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia could promise anything more than financial benefits to Syria. Because of this the president of Syria stated, knocking down Saudi Arabia and Egypt: “Peace treaties are nothing more than a piece of paper. But the reality is that 500 thousand Palestinians are in Syria. They must return to their homes and Golan must be given back to Syria. Until this happens there will be no changes.”

Islam Times

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