US Report: KSA Seeks to Funnel Arms to Syria’s Rebels via Jordan

Local Editor

The US famous daily, “Wall Street Journal”, unveiled Saturday that “Saudi Arabia has pressed Jordan to open its border with Syria to allow weapons to reach armed groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”

However, officials from both countries warned that “this move could buoy Syria’s opposition and harden the conflict in the country and across the region.”

“In a March 12 meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah asked his Jordanian counterpart to permit weapons shipments into Syria in exchange for economic assistance to Jordan,” these officials said adding that “Jordan hasn’t yet agreed.”

The report further expressed fear that “arming the opposition could escalate prospects for a broader regional conflict.”

“In Baghdad, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that arming the Syrian opposition could invite a repeat of the insurgency and sectarian strife that consumed Iraq for years after the 2003 US-led invasion,” The WSJ reported
“It will lead to regional and global proxy wars in the Syrian arena,” Maliki said.

Despite all warns, the paper pointed out that “Jordanian officials said they are unlikely to resist Saudi pressure for long.”

“We are a non-interventionist country. But if it becomes force majeure, you have to join-this is the story of Jordan,” said a top Jordanian official.

According to the newspaper, “Jordan remains nervous about arming the rebels, worried that a larger conflict in Syria could engulf the region.”

“Adding to these concerns are beliefs by several governments that extremist groups such as al-Qaeda are now actively fighting against al-Assad’s government, and that they may have been behind bombings in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s two largest cities,” the paper asserted.

In parallel, a Jordanian official said “you have to be very careful who you arm and don’t arm. We don’t quite know who this opposition is.”

The paper also noted to the economic crisis Jordan is suffering due to Syria’s crisis.

“The Syrian crisis is already affecting Jordan’s economy. Before the conflict, about 70% of Jordan’s imports and about 25% of its exports were routed through Syria, according to the country’s Transport Ministry, which didn’t provide dollar figures. Now those imports and exports have fallen to virtually zero,” the ministry said.

Source: WSJ, Edited by

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