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Assad's brutal dictatorship likely to end without Saudi support

August 12, 2011 - London

Following Saudi Arabia's decision to break its silence on the brutal killing of civilians in Syria and to withdraw its support for President Bashar al-Assad, his regime's ability to survive the uprising and to continue with its cruel dictatorship is now being questioned.

King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch and the region's most powerful potentate, recently issued a statement denouncing Syria's suppression of the protests seeking Assad's overthrow as 'unacceptable'.

Saudi Arabia announced it was recalling its envoy to Damascus 'for consultations' and its two closest allies, Bahrain and Kuwait, also followed suit.

According to The Telegraph, the Saudis have previously tended to turn a blind eye to the excesses of the Assad government, not least because it has proved to be a useful ally in maintaining the diplomatic pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Even when, in 1996, Saudi intelligence discovered that the truck bomb that destroyed the US military compound in Dharhan, killing 20 people, had been assembled in Damascus, there was no official act of censure, the paper said.

In recent years, the Saudis have sought to improve relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Riyadh's decision to cut relations with Damascus reflects the royal family's revulsion at Assad's treatment of their co-religionists, the paper added.

In Egypt, the military's decision to withdraw its support for President Hosni Mubarak was the crucial factor in his overthrow, while in Libya the Arab League's unanimous backing for military intervention against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi provided the political cover for NATO military intervention.

Similarly, Arab League decision to withdraw support for Assad's brutal killing of civilians is being considered as a 'game-changing moment'.


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