Saudi: Assad must go – or we step in
SAUDI ARABIA’s foreign minister has threatened to escalate the war on Syria if President Bashar al-Assad does not step down.
Saudi royal Adel al-Jubeir told the BBC yesterday that Mr Assad was not in a “position of advantage or victory,” despite a recent string of major coups against Western-backed insurgents, including the surrounding of 5,000 rebels in Aleppo.
“If Bashar al-Assad continues to be obstinate and continues to drag his feet and continues to refuse to engage seriously, then obviously there will have to be a plan B which will involve more stepped-up military activity,” he warned.
Mr Jubeir spoke ahead of a meeting in London between the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) — the Saudi-convened Syrian opposition coalition that stretches from anti-Assad political moderates to armed al-Qaida-allied extremists — and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London.
The HNC was set to present its latest variation of regime-change demands — a six-month complete ceasefire followed by an 18-month “transition” ending with Mr Assad’s removal.
Mr Johnson sought to present the HNC as the “broadest-based” and “democratic and pluralistic” political force in Syria, and attacked Russia’s “seemingly indefensible” support for the government.
But the member groups of the HNC have repeatedly broken February’s Russian-US brokered ceasefire, renewing its alliance with Syria’s al-Qaida in breach of December’s UN security council resolution 2254.
On Tuesday Syrian UN ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari denounced the imperialist doctrine of “responsibility to protect,” saying that was the exclusive function of sovereign states.
He said that dogma had turned Libya into a haven for international extremism and exporting terror to other countries, including Syria.
“The events in Syria can’t be described as civil war as thousands of foreign terrorists have entered Syria through neighbouring countries,” Mr Jaafari said.