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A Skeptical Eye: Saudi King Condemns Syrian Crackdown -- News from Antiwar.com

A Skeptical Eye: Saudi King Condemns Syrian Crackdown -- News from Antiwar.com
Taken at face value the comments seem fairly uncontroversial, a simple rehash of what most other nations are saying now. Saudi Arabia, however, is not just any nation but is a regional power which has acted with upmost cynicism with regard to the Arab Spring revolts.

Having eagerly taken in the first dictator ousted by protests, Zine el-Abidine bin Ali of Tunisia, the Saudi government followed up with an invasion of Bahrain to violently put down pro-democracy rallies there, while taking a very Syrian tack in their own crackdown on protesters in Qatf. Mass arrests and accusations of “sedition” were and are the order of the day for reformists within the Saudi Kingdom, and it eagerly facilitates crackdowns by neighboring regimes.

The difference, then, lies in Syria’s precarious position in Middle East power struggles. The Assad regime is Shi’ite, albeit in a largely Sunni country. This would put it in the same position as the Sunni Bahraini royal family on that mostly Shi’ite island, but Saudi Arabia, which still envisions itself as a “defender of the faith” in sort of a 16th century Holy Roman Empire way, is more than willing to cynically hold a double standard if it means getting one up on the Shi’ites of the region.


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