A newspaper owned by the Saudi government and rather ironically called Independent Arabia has started to promote the restoration of links with the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad, Aram Media reported on Wednesday. The Saudi government has boycotted Assad and his regime for almost a decade due to their crimes against the Syrian people.
A headline of “Damascus reconnects severed rope with Saudi Arabia and UAE” covered the story about Syrian Communication Minister Iyad Al-Khatib announcing the reconnection of the optical fibre cable between Damascus, Dubai, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The minister described this as a glimmer of hope to revive Syrian-Arab cooperation.
The connection was cut in 2011, when the Syrian regime faced street protests calling for political reform and responded with violence. That was the start of the ongoing civil war in the country.
Prior to the reconnection of the cable, said the Saudi daily, Riyadh allowed Syrian trucks to pass through its territory on 27 September. The Syrians, it pointed out, welcome such steps.
“The obstacle [ahead of restoring links with Arab states] is the US refusal to give legitimacy to Damascus in the light of the Caesar Act and other sanctions,” said Syrian MP Ahmed Meri. “Restoring ties with the UAE sends a signal to the Arab League about the importance of the UAE and Saudi Arabia role against the Turkish danger and the necessity of the rapprochement with Syria in order to form an Arab alliance against Turkish invasion [sic].”
According to Independent Arabia, however, the Syrian opposition does not want the Arab states to change their relations with the regime in Damascus. Instead, they continue to call for them to put pressure on Bashar Al-Assad for the sake of a political transition and freedom.
In closing, the newspaper pointed out that the participation of journalists close to Assad in a meeting of the Arab journalists held in Riyadh last year was the first time in years that Saudi Arabia had overtly received Assad allies.