By Arab News
By Tariq Alhomayed
An official source from the Saudi Foreign Ministry spoke with condemnation and inquired about the motives behind the commissioner of the Russian Foreign Ministry (Konstantin Dolgov’s) recent statement, regarding human rights in Saudi Arabia, which the Kingdom considered to be “blatant interference” in its internal affairs.
The Saudi response came after Russia had issued a statement regarding Saudi Arabia’s arrest of the terrorist Nimr Al-Nimr in Awamiya, a region in the east of the Kingdom. The Riyadh response contained an interesting question, phrased in the words of Saudi Foreign Ministry official as follows: “The Kingdom hopes that such strange remarks do not aim at diverting attention away from the brutal and savage massacres the Syrian regime is committing against its people with support from well-known parties that set obstacles in the face of any effort to end bloodshed in Syria.” The truth, in response to Saudi Arabia’s implicit question, is that the answer is yes, in all certainty, and there are several indicators to confirm this.
Moscow continues to justify Assad’s crimes against his own people, which have so far resulted in the deaths of nearly 17,000 Syrians. The latest of these justifications came in the form of the Russian statement on the Treimsa massacre, where nearly 300 people were killed. Moscow said that those behind the massacre were “parties benefiting from prolonging the conflict” in Syria, despite the fact that international observers state that the massacre took place after Assad’s air force had carried out maneuvers.
Nevertheless, Moscow still supports Assad, and disrupts any meaningful Security Council action to protect the Syrian civilians!
The other thing we must not forget is the Russian Foreign Minister’s statement warning of the role being played by the Sunnis in Syria, arguing that the fall of the Assad regime would signal the arrival of the Sunnis to power there. Of course there have been previous statements issued from Moscow towards Saudi Arabia, relating to Syrian affairs, and Riyadh has responded to each of them in a prudent and timely manner, even when the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Riyadh of supporting “terrorists”. But is this all?
Of course not, Konstantin Dolgov’s recent remarks represent the third foreign statement on this particular issue, i.e. the arrest of the terrorist Nimr al-Nimr. Before Moscow, Tehran issued a statement in this regard, as did Hezbollah, a group which refers to the terrorist Al-Nimr as “His Eminence Sheikh”. So how after all this can it be said that the Russian statement is anything but an attempt to distract attention away from what is happening in Syria? The context and the consistency of these statements are both clear, and do not need any further investigation, but the good thing to come out of this bleak picture is that the screaming is on par with the pain, as they say. Moscow, Tehran, Hezbollah and all the allies of the tyrant of Damascus now feel the seriousness of the moment and their positions. They are now aware that we are facing the final moments in the life of a criminal regime that the Syrians and the wider region have suffered from. The inevitable fall of Assad is the last nail in the coffin for the merchants of death in our region, from Iran to Russia and their allies.
Assad’s allies today are trying to do the impossible and divert attention away from the Syrian regime’s crimes, and today it is vital that no one is distracted by these attempts, including Saudi Arabia, which has fought Sunni extremism in the past just as it is now fighting Shiite extremism.
The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.