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US-Russia Syria Deal Affects Saudi Regional Strategy

The US-Russia deal on Syria chemical weapons gives momentum to possible settlement and may mean changes for regional players.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal (L) talks with Qatar Foreign Minister Khalid Al Attiya following their meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and members of the Arab Peace Initiative at the United States Embassy in Paris, September 8, 2013. REUTERS/Susan Walsh/Pool (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX13CWG

In Beirut, all eyes are focused on Riyadh’s stance toward the Syrian chemical weapons deal, reached between Washington and Moscow, in order to gauge how the next stage will affect Lebanon. Although Riyadh’s attitude does not have a direct impact on the settlement that was approved by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, the country is still capable of influencing the Syrian arena indirectly by interfering in several places.

The Saudi stance could affect Iraq, where a surge of sectarian bombings continues at the same bloody pace, and may also have an impact on the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, led by Ahmad Jarba, who is affiliated with Riyadh. Lebanon is certainly another place where the impact of this stance may be felt; the political conflict between Riyadh’s allies and those of President Bashar al-Assad involves the whole composition of the Lebanese system, starting with the government, which has been paralyzed since March 22, up to the presidential elections, which must be held between March 25 and April 25, 2014, as stipulated in the Constitution.

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