تمخض الجمل فولد فأرا
“The camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse” An excellent Arab saying.
The Saudi king and officials met this week with the new Caliph of Turkey, the Sultan Erdogan. They met in the Saudi capital Riyadh, and came up with a very unoriginal outcome. They called the outcome a “Strategic Cooperation Council”, not a good start. Not an original title at all, and hence not promising at all for the future of this arrangement. Most likely a product of the mediocre mind of Mr. Addle Al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister. As Arabs have wisely said for centuries: this camel went into labor and gave birth to a mouse. Unsatisfying to all.
The Saudis (and Qataris as well) face a couple of dilemmas, in Syria and Yemen. Syria is safely far away from their borders, so any mischief would not spill over the border. They may think they are “playing with the house chips“, in Las Vegas gambling parlance. If they win in Syria they would have struck a hard blow at their Iranian rivals; if they lose, well, nothing has changed since before 2011. They, their proxies, are not winning in Syria now. All the early predictions that Al Assad would be out of Damascus within weeks or months are coming back to haunt Western governments (and some Arab regimes). Even I started to believe and expect it in those late months of 2011.
But that prediction was mostly Arab propaganda created by Salafists and Wahhabis on the Persian Gulf and accepted by Western media as the truth. It was sold to the Obama administration by some Gulf princes and potentates and some Western “intellectuals” like Bernard-Henri Levy and and non-intellectuals John McCain and Joe Lieberman. They all, from Clinton to Cameron waited for the announcement of the scheduled departure of Assad and his cronies. It worked in Libya, or so they thought, so why not in Syria?
They have failed, but their money and weapons and Salafist volunteers also created and enabled the violent Caliphate of ISIS or DAESH. With active Turkish help and connivance. But like their other creation Al Qaeda, ISIS is also now threatening to bite them.
Erdogan will not solve the Saudi/Qatari dilemma in Syria. There are hints that it may be spilling over his own border.
He certainly will not solve their Yemeni problem, but that is a topic for another posting. Perhaps the next one.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum