Saudi Arabia is our natural ally against Isil | World Defense

Saudi Arabia is our natural ally against Isil

BLACKEAGLE

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Saudi Arabia is our natural ally against Isil

Just like David Cameron, Riyadh is committed both to destroying Islamic State and to toppling Assad. It would be foolish to alienate them now


Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are greeted by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan at Riyadh Photo: Reuters


By Con Coughlin

8:43PM GMT 08 Dec 2015

When David Cameron tried to find out just how many Syrian fighters were available to conduct ground operations against Islamic State (Isil), the response from his senior military advisors was hardly encouraging.

“There is certainly no shortage of fighters on the ground in Syria,” the Prime Minister’s office was told. “The only problem is that none of them wants to fight against Isil.”

That, in a nutshell, sums up the predicament facing Western policymakers as they attempt to devise a coherent strategy for defeating Isil – one that does not rely exclusively on the somewhat optimistic belief that if you drop enough bombs on the fanatics, they will simply give up on their attempts to establish their self-styled caliphate.

Downing Street has now distanced itself from Mr Cameron’s initial claim that there were up to 70,000 Syrian rebels prepared to join the fight against Isil – a figure, I am told, that was inserted at the last minute into Mr Cameron’s Commons speech by an over-enthusiastic Cabinet Office official who was not inclined to heed the official military guidance.

The reality, of course, is that with more than 100 different factions all fighting for their share of the spoils in Syria’s brutal civil war, it is almost impossible to distinguish the groups that are fighting against Isil from those pursuing other agendas, such as trying to overthrow the Assad regime or those wanting to establish an independent fiefdom of their own.

In some cases, factions find themselves fighting on two fronts. Groups that were formed four years ago specifically to target President Bashar al-Assad are now being forced to defend their territorial gains against Isil, which makes no distinction between groups fighting either for or against the Assad regime.

So far as Isil’s ideologues are concerned, anyone who does not subscribe fully to their twisted interpretation of Islam is deemed a heretic.

So, if any meaningful progress is to be made in the ground war against Isil, then there must be some degree of rationalisation on the battlefield that clarifies exactly who is fighting whom, and to what end.

In that context, the opening yesterday of a summit of Syrian opposition groups in Saudi Arabia represents a long overdue attempt to forge some unity of purpose, one that might ultimately lay the foundations for Isil’s demise.

The Saudis have not exactly enjoyed a good press in recent weeks, not least because of the antics of hard Left activists from the Stop the War Coalition and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, who would have us believe Saudi Arabia is single-handedly responsible for the creation of both al-Qaeda and Isil.

Admittedly, funds from some Saudi individuals have, in the past, helped to fund both these organisations. But the Saudi government itself is at war with both groups, with Isil terrorists recently carrying out a series of attacks against mosques in the Sunni homeland.

The Saudis, therefore, are as committed to defeating Isil as they are to the removal of the Assad regime, their long-standing regional rivals which, as it happens, is not all that different from the aims espoused by Mr Cameron when setting out Britain’s long-term objectives for its military intervention in Syria.

In such circumstances it would make perfect sense for Britain to work closely with the Saudis to make common cause, particularly as the two countries have a close alliance dating back to well before the first Gulf war.

And yet, at a time when Mr Cameron needs all the allies he can muster to guarantee Britain’s involvement in Syria is a success, relations between London and Riyadh have become strained, not least because of Justice Secretary Michael Gove’s ill-advised decision in October to cancel a prisons contract in protest at the Saudis’ human rights record, a move that caused much unhappiness in Riyadh.

What Mr Gove failed to appreciate is that his intervention came at a critical juncture in the kingdom’s political development.

Next weekend, this deeply conservative country will allow women to stand for the first time in municipal elections. Reforms of this nature, while painfully slow, are nevertheless a step in the right direction, and should enjoy our encouragement, rather than being spurned, which is how the Saudis interpreted Mr Gove’s intervention.

Moreover, at a time when Britain is in the process of restructuring its Armed Forces, it makes sense to strengthen its alliance with long-standing partners like Riyadh.

The Saudis are strengthening their own military, and have expressed an interest in adding to the fleet of 72 British Typhoons they bought in 2007. But the deal is unlikely to proceed if doubts persist in Riyadh about the strength of Britain’s commitment to maintaining strong ties.

The Saudis can be difficult allies, as demonstrated by the recent row over a 74-year-old British bootlegger who was sentenced to 350 lashes.

But when it comes to the big regional issues, the Saudis have proved themselves to be a good friend of Britain, one that could play a vital role in destroying Isil.
Saudi Arabia is our natural ally against Isil - Telegraph
 

UAE

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Reading between the lines made me laugh out loud. What is what the British media and its war against Saudi Arabia. Seriously we should found our own counter media outlets.
 

Corzhens

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Again, I am a bit confused. I understand that there is a civil war in Syria aside from the ISIS or ISIL there. There are political enemies of Assad and his government that makes life harder for Syrians. And why do Syrians do not want to fight ISIS? Because they are also confused like me. ISIS is not only espousing violence or terrorism as what he media is portraying. ISIS is an Islamic State to mean it is founded on religious tenet. I think those Syrians who do not want to fight ISIS are either sympathizers of ISIS or neutral in their stand. Only few are scared to fight.
 

Scorpion

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Again, I am a bit confused. I understand that there is a civil war in Syria aside from the ISIS or ISIL there. There are political enemies of Assad and his government that makes life harder for Syrians. And why do Syrians do not want to fight ISIS? Because they are also confused like me. ISIS is not only espousing violence or terrorism as what he media is portraying. ISIS is an Islamic State to mean it is founded on religious tenet. I think those Syrians who do not want to fight ISIS are either sympathizers of ISIS or neutral in their stand. Only few are scared to fight.
Who says the Syrian rebels aren't fighting ISIS? In fact, the rebels were the one that rejected ISIS and took arms against it. Secondly, I agree with you that the media is portraying ISIS as an Islamic whatever you wanna call it a state...etc but bear this in mind that the whole muslim community from all over the world have openly loudly and publicly reject ISIS and their twisted ideology and ironically we don't see that as a headline in the western media. All Syrian rebels are fighting ISIS and there is no single battalion do sympathize with ISIS. Lets not forgot that ISIS started in Iraq in the first place. ISIS is composed of ex Iraqi pro Saddam regiments. For instance, their leader Al-Baghdadi was imprisoned in the US before he was sat free back in 2009/2010.
 

Corzhens

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Who says the Syrian rebels aren't fighting ISIS? In fact, the rebels were the one that rejected ISIS and took arms against it. Secondly, I agree with you that the media is portraying ISIS as an Islamic whatever you wanna call it a state...etc but bear this in mind that the whole muslim community from all over the world have openly loudly and publicly reject ISIS and their twisted ideology and ironically we don't see that as a headline in the western media. All Syrian rebels are fighting ISIS and there is no single battalion do sympathize with ISIS. Lets not forgot that ISIS started in Iraq in the first place. ISIS is composed of ex Iraqi pro Saddam regiments. For instance, their leader Al-Baghdadi was imprisoned in the US before he was sat free back in 2009/2010.
Thank you for your informative reply. Now may I ask why ISIS is still existing when the Muslim community all over the world have rejected ISIS publicly? And there are the Syrian rebels fighting ISIS not to mention the external military forces of US, Russia, Turkey and not Saudi Arabia and UK and probably some others more. It looks like ISIS is alone in the fight so it is a puzzle to me why ISIS is still growing.
 

Slam Eagle

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Thank you for your informative reply. Now may I ask why ISIS is still existing when the Muslim community all over the world have rejected ISIS publicly? And there are the Syrian rebels fighting ISIS not to mention the external military forces of US, Russia, Turkey and not Saudi Arabia and UK and probably some others more. It looks like ISIS is alone in the fight so it is a puzzle to me why ISIS is still growing.
Syrian rebels fighting : ISIS , Russia , Government forces , PKK , Shiite militias , Iran

In the north of Aleppo .. ISIS , Russia , Government forces , PKK , Shiite militias .. All of these Attack.. Syrian rebels
 

Corzhens

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Gee, it looks like there are so many factions in Syria so I guess those migrating Syrians are on the right track. Why stay in your country when it is like a martial arts arena with so many groups fighting like an intramural. Shiite militias against Sunnis, I guess, they are mortal enemies. And to think that they are both Muslims, believing in the same q'ran. Well, sorry for intruding in your affairs. I'm just curious.
 

Matthew Lopes

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They should be our ally. The sad fact, though, is that due to the Sunni-Shite rivalry, there are many Saudis (no doubt some rich and powerful) who would rather see a Sunni ISIS in power than a Shiite Assad,
 

Scorpion

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They should be our ally. The sad fact, though, is that due to the Sunni-Shite rivalry, there are many Saudis (no doubt some rich and powerful) who would rather see a Sunni ISIS in power than a Shiite Assad,
Logic fallacy. You can't call ISIS sunni. ISIS is not an islamic group to begin with rather politically motivated group tried to use religion to gain sympathy but failed miserably.
 
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Lawrence

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Logic fallacy. You can't call ISIS sunni. ISIS is not an islamic group to begin with rather politically motivated group tried to use religion to gain sympathy but failed miserably.
They did not use religion to gain sympathy, their end goal is to run a state based on Islamic principles. It is rather the reverse of what you claim; they use non-Sunni forces (ex-Baathists from the Saddam Hussein regime) in pursuit of their religious ideals, instead of using the religious ideals to gain power. The majority of the fighters are ex-Baathists but all in top command are Sunni, meaning they would probably classify as a Sunni regime.
 

Scorpion

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They did not use religion to gain sympathy, their end goal is to run a state based on Islamic principles. It is rather the reverse of what you claim; they use non-Sunni forces (ex-Baathists from the Saddam Hussein regime) in pursuit of their religious ideals, instead of using the religious ideals to gain power. The majority of the fighters are ex-Baathists but all in top command are Sunni, meaning they would probably classify as a Sunni regime.
Islamic/Sunni are synonyms term and neither permits what ISIS is doing today. I don't know how you are trying to associate what ISIS doing to Islam and its principles. Its true that ISIS is composed of ex Baathists but that doesn't exclude that fact that ISIS is trying to use religion to gain sympathy and recruit people.
 

Lawrence

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Islamic/Sunni are synonyms term and neither permits what ISIS is doing today. I don't know how you are trying to associate what ISIS doing to Islam and its principles. Its true that ISIS is composed of ex Baathists but that doesn't exclude that fact that ISIS is trying to use religion to gain sympathy and recruit people.
You can't say as a whole that the Sunni don't endorse what ISIS is doing - many of them do, and others don't. My point is that ISIS is under Sunni rule and their ideology differs from Shiite. It's not a matter of opinion; this is a fact.
The fact that most fighters are ex-Baathists does nullify your claim that they use religion to recruit people because many of the ex-Baathists are secular and don't care about the Caliphate's religious agenda. They just go along with al-Baghdadi because ISIS is a good vehicle for them to reach their own objectives, which is fighting against the Assad regime.
They only use religion in recruitment when it come to foreigners.
 

Scorpion

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You can't say as a whole that the Sunni don't endorse what ISIS is doing - many of them do, and others don't. My point is that ISIS is under Sunni rule and their ideology differs from Shiite. It's not a matter of opinion; this is a fact.
The fact that most fighters are ex-Baathists does nullify your claim that they use religion to recruit people because many of the ex-Baathists are secular and don't care about the Caliphate's religious agenda. They just go along with al-Baghdadi because ISIS is a good vehicle for them to reach their own objectives, which is fighting against the Assad regime.
They only use religion in recruitment when it come to foreigners.
I can say with total authority as Im Sunni myself and yes Islam doesn't endorse what ISIS is doing. Not only my country Saudi Arabia has spoken against ISIS but the whole muslims scholars from around the world. What you have to realize is that what ISIS is doing has nothing to do with Islam at all. There is no fact presented here you are blabbering nonsense. As far as the agenda of ISIS goes, they use religion and have secular and strategic goals to reach. I just wanted to point out that your hint that ISIS and Islam have something in common is totally untrue.
 
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