Saudi Arabia Condemns Violence in Syria
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has spoken on the violence in Syria, and his words have not been kind. In the general scheme of things, this was not a predictable outcome per se, but definitely understandable, given the season. The latest round of violence in Syria has coincided with the first week of Ramadan, the holiest time of the Islamic year.
Condemnation for human rights violations and violence against one's people is one thing. When it is coming from a country like Saudi Arabia, that is something else entirely. It is not like the Saudis have a sterling reputation for respecting the rights of their citizens. After all, the men of Saudi Arabia threatened violence against their women if they attempted to drive.
More importantly, because of Saudi Arabia pulling its ambassador to Syria, and making formal statements against the bloodbath in Syria, other nations in the region have followed Saudi Arabia's lead. Kuwait predictably has joined in the collective statements condemning the violence. However, Bahrain's joining in is somewhat surprising, given the unrest in that nation. Perhaps it will serve a dual purpose, both of encouraging Bashar al-Assad to step down in Syria, and to appease citizens of Bahrain at least a little by showing some sympathy for the Syrian citizens.
The fact that Arab nations have begun to speak up against the violence in Syria is meaningful, and is more likely than similar comments from the West to actually be considered by Assad. These countries and leaders are his peers, not evil infidels from outside the region that are determined to interfere in the political matters in his country. It remains to be seen if more stringent comments or actions are to follow from nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Also, if there is a diplomatic solution to the situation in Syria, the Arab nations are the most likely candidates to secure a peaceful resolution to the problem at this point. Whether or not Western powers will choose to step back and allow that happen will be apparent in the coming weeks and months.