Syrian moderates?

Syrian opposition groups were today meeting in Saudi Arabia. The BBC reported on the event. The headline was:

Syrian opposition seeks unified front at Riyadh conference

Most of the main rebel factions, such as Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, are taking part in the conference in Riyadh, for which preparatory talks began on Tuesday.

There are hundreds of different groups in Syria, the BBC only name two of the attendees.

It is important that it is the Saudis who are hosting the talks, the first of their kind to bring together many of the main strands of the rebel movement of which Riyadh is a key backer and financier..

Saudi Arabia have repeatedly denied funding terrorist groups in Syria.

Ahrar al-Sham is a ultraconservative Islamist, or Salafist, rebel group that aims to topple Mr Assad and build an Islamic state. It is part of Jaysh al-Fatah, an alliance that includes the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Ahrar al-Sham get a mention again here but hang on…. They are described as ultraconservative Islamist or Salafist  group. It insinuates throughout this report that these groups are moderates and a reasonable alternative to Assad however, ultraconservative Islamist or Salafist does not strike me as being moderates. Affiliation to al-Nusra Front puts a lid on it.

Jaysh al-Islam, a Islamist rebel group active mostly around Damascus, previously called for the establishment of an Islamic state. Its leader now says he favours allowing Syrians to decide what sort of state they want.

Oh, it would appear that Jaysh al-Islam previously called for the establishment of an Islamic state so what’s to stop them changing their mind again?

If this was a meeting of credible alternatives to Assad, it failed at every level. Saudi Arabia has been a vocal opponent of Assad and continues to be s0 but why?  Recently the relationship has deteriorated starting with the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war but nothing appears to have triggered the need for Saudi to be such an influential critic of  the Syrian leader.

The refusal by Assad to allow a gas pipe across Syria seems to be the catalyst and the involvement of Qatar and Turkey would make sense.

If this scenario is true, what kind of psychopaths are we dealing with who would rip the heart out of a country, resulting in the deaths of so many innocent people purely for profit? It’s not as if they aren’t already stinking rich beyond most peoples wildest imaginations. Supplying Europe with gas which would cut Russia out of the deal looks more like a US instigated move to weaken the Russians. 

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