Washington Closes Damascus Embassy, Saudi Officials Willing to Re-Establish Contact with Assad Regime

Article Summary
A confidential source has revealed that Saudi Arabia is prepared to re-open lines of communication with the Syrian regime. Meanwhile, a poll has revealed widespread support for Assad; and the US has closed its Embassy in Damascus. All these developments point to the failure of the campaign to overthrow the Assad regime, claims the source.

Lebanese sources have received diplomatic reports containing the reasons which prompted the group of Gulf countries at the Arab League, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to further [oppose] the Syrian regime by establishing a new road map which reproduces "the Yemeni model" in Syria. This followed the balanced report submitted by the Arab Observer Mission at the end of the first phase of their monitoring mission in areas of tension in Syria.

A well-informed source in contact with the representatives of the five major [Gulf] states in Beirut said that "highly important information suggests that the proposal made ​​by the Gulf group concerning the application of the ‘Yemeni model’ in Syria is the biggest proof of the failure of these states to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. [This proposal] further indicates the failure of the axis they revolve around: America, Europe and Turkey. Therefore, [the Gulf states] have rushed to transfer the issue to the Security Council in an attempt to persuade Russia of a (most probably economic) swap and prompt it to issue a new international resolution which tightens the screws on the Syrian regime.”

The source said that "the West is now convinced that Syria’s demographic composition is dissimilar to that of Yemen. In fact, Yemen is an Arab state ruled by a sectarian majority, while Syria embraces 35 communities, and the Sunni [majority] in this country is divided between Arabs and Kurds. Add to this the fact that a major segment of the [Syrian] people supports the regime, reforms and the survival of Assad for fear of the alternative and in particular Islamic leaders, regardless of [their declared goals].

The source says that "according to Western ambassadors, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tasked an international survey company with conducting a poll to determine to what extent the [Syrian] citizens want their leader to stay in power, as well as to judge the resilience of the opposition. The "big surprise" arrived at by the "respected institution" is that 55% of the population want Assad to remain in power, and most importantly, that 95% of the Syrian people do not support the opposition, especially the opposition abroad and the [Free Syrian Army].  [The poll indicates] that this majority is against any repetition of the Iraqi or Libyan [experience] in Syria, and they cling to the policy of resistance to Israel.”

"The capitals concerned wanted the results of this poll to remain undisclosed, especially considering that [these results] coincided with the start of the Arab Observer mission in Syria. In fact, [leaders of these capitals] were hoping that the arrival of observers would be in the interest of the opposition and would manage to change these results, which had come as a disappointment to them. Consequently, they used the Arab observers as a cover for massive protests against the Syrian regime. It should be noted that the Syrian people did not voluntarily take to the streets with the arrival of observers, and the popular mobilization was not the result of any effort [on the part of the people]. Furthermore, observers were surprised that there were demonstrations condemning the opposition, rejecting foreign intervention and supporting the regime, reform and modernization.This poll was a further disappointment to the leaders of the countries concerned, given the previous impasse related to the Syrian army's cohesion and the people's support of both the army’s leadership and its forces. This deprived them of all kinds of pretexts,” the source added.

“The most important thing is that [these leaders] revealed a Saudi will to restore contact with the Syrian leadership because they believe that the public and direct Russian support for Syria - whether through Russian warships sent to the port of Tartus, or through Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's announcement that his country would exercise its veto in case the issue of foreign intervention in Syria was raised [at the Security Council] - would not have been given had Russia not been confident that the Assad regime is strong and solid and that destroying it will be difficult for many reasons, most notably the integration of the army and the majority’s support for its leadership. In other words, Russia is not [acting out of] charity; it cannot support a regime bound to collapse or a president bound to fall. Therefore these Saudi leaders who fulfill the minimum requirements of credibility, some of whom were previously in contact with Assad - especially during the [Saudi-Syrian] initiative [to break the Lebanese deadlock] - are convinced that they should find a solution similar to Lebanon’s Ta’ef Accord. President Assad should have a pivotal role, so that Syria may preserve its preeminent position in the Arab world alongside Saudi Arabia and Egypt. [This would contribute to] the achievement of real stability in the region, a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict as a prelude to resolving the problem of the Middle East, with all of its old and new implications. [Saudi leaders] are convinced that no solution can be found and no stability can be achieved in the region without Syria and Bashar al-Assad,” the source added.

The source noted that "in addition to these facts, there is Washington's announcement of the closure of its embassy in Damascus, which confirms the correctness of the Russian position toward Syria. In fact, just like Moscow announced its support for a regime which is unlikely to collapse given Assad’s resilience, Washington has announced the closure of its embassy in Damascus. Had the regime been on the verge of collapse, Washington would have kept the doors of its embassy in Damascus wide open. Moreover, it would have sent more security and military personnel under diplomatic cover and would have acted as if its ambassador was sowing the seeds of a democracy inspired by the Iraqi or Libyan [experience]. Additionally, the campaign led by both the US and French Ambassadors at the beginning of the movement was doomed to failure. In fact, travelling through [regions] of tension such as Daraa, Hama, Homs and other cities yielded adverse results, [alerting the Syrian people to the magnitude of the conspiracy targeting Syria] and prompting them to receive [these ambassadors] with rotten eggs and tomatoes. The question with an implicit answer is this: How can [the Syrian] regime collapse when Washington, the leader of the opposition campaign, has closed its embassy in Damascus?”

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