It’s never too late
Since the founding of the modern day Saudi Arabia in 1932, the Kingdom has worked with France on a host of global and regional issues. The bilateral ties have only strengthened over the years not only at the official level but also between the citizens of the two countries.
Three years have passed since the so-called Arab Spring hit the Arab world wreaking havoc in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. In the case of Syria, it is far from over. In Syria, it all started as a popular uprising against the brutal regime of Bashar Assad but with the passage of time the country has become a battleground of foreign elements trying to gain influence. The ongoing conflict in Syria is undoubtedly a threat to regional stability. Lebanon is said to be the worst hit country in this context. Apart from the political situation, the humanitarian crisis in Syria has been termed one of the worst in the history of mankind. The number of confirmed casualties has already exceeded 100,000 with millions others rendered homeless. The civic infrastructure of Syria is in tatters. With the approach of winter and a lack of food supplies, people are dying of starvation and due to subzero temperatures. It would not be wrong to say that Syrians, including women and children, are in a way slowly being tortured to death.
In addition to that, forces of the regime attack and kill innocent civilians with the most lethal weapons on a daily basis. Ironically, the international community did nothing concrete to address the situation and to end the miseries of Syrians.
Saudi Arabia had lobbied for a speedy end to the Syrian conflict but to no avail. People were asking if Saudi Arabia was going to do it alone. Last Sunday, we saw a ray of hope when French President Francois Hollande visited the Kingdom and met Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The two leaders discussed the situation in Syria and the need to protect Lebanon from Iranian and Syrian influence.
This was Hollande’s second visit to the Kingdom since assuming the office. This shows the importance of the ties between the two countries. Since both countries are influential global players, it is hoped that the Syrian crisis will end soon and innocent lives will be saved. The sooner the better, as the Syrian war has spilled over into Lebanon.
The French affirmed their support to Saudi plans to help Syrians end their escalating bloody civil war. Saudi Arabia had on many occasions warned of the never ending killing of innocent people in the Arab World. And being the center of political, security and political stability, many countries in the region see the Kingdom as a leader that is trusted by all parties to end the Syrian conflict. It is important at this time to see France join hands with Saudi Arabia in helping Syrians and for the protection of Lebanese integrity.
Now, the game has changed. Until recently the world community had ignored the pleas of the Syrians. Saudi Arabia has stepped forward to play its role by allocating $3 billion to help the Lebanese Armed Forces to rebuild and strengthen itself to re-take the country back from Hezbollah. Lebanon is the most affected country by the events in Syria. Lebanon had seen many terrorist attacks and assassinations of many political figures and this can drag Lebanon into chaos.
Saudi Arabia and France are paving the way for ending the Syrian crisis, but, at the end of the day, it is the Syrians who will have the final say in ending the crisis. Opposition leaders and faction leaders must put the interest of the Syrians ahead of their own interests. Enough bloodshed has occured during this Arab Spring and it is the duty of all Syrians to end this tragedy.
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