Tue, 2011-08-09 01:23Top officials in Saudi Arabia including Shoura members, heads of Islamic organizations and academics lent their support Monday to the call made by the king to stop the bloodshed in Syria and initiate necessary reforms to ensure peace in the strife-torn country.
“Syrian President Bashar Assad has lost the legitimacy to rule,” said Hamza Khoshain, a member of the Shoura Council, in Riyadh on Monday. “King Abdullah has sent a clear message to the Syrian regime by recalling the Saudi ambassador for consultations and by asking Damascus to rectify the situation as soon as possible.”
He lent his strong support to the Kingdom’s call for Syria to shun violence and said the situation was being aggravated in Syria because of some outside elements, which are playing nasty roles to destabilize the country.”
“What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia,” King Abdullah said in a written statement released Monday. “Syria should think wisely before it’s too late … and enact reforms that are not merely promises but actual reforms.”
Saleh Al-Wohaibi, secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), said “the WAMY was deeply concerned over the torture and the killings of innocent people in Syria.” He said the Syrian regime had failed to ensure peace, security and good governance.
He called on international organizations to monitor the “criminal acts” being committed by the Syrian regime, adding that the irresponsible handling of the situation had now created a humanitarian crisis in the country, where basic services like power, water and communication have become inaccessible.
“Now, it is too late for the Syrian government to suppress demands by killing civilians including women and children,” said Habib A. Al-Shammari, a spokesman of the Riyadh-based King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue. Al-Shammari said the Syrian uprisings had gone out of control because the government had failed to deliver what the masses had wanted. “Syrian leaders did not start any dialogue for political participation and they also did not initiate any reforms when the time was ripe,” he added.
He cited the example of Saudi Arabia, which started a dialogue several years ago and institutionalized in the form of the King Abdulaziz National Dialogue. Lebanon is another example which has also now started a process of political dialogue, he added.
“In fact, King Abdullah’s advice to Syria comes within the framework of the Kingdom’s foreign policy, which is based on the Islamic brotherhood, services to mankind, and care for neighbors,” said Abdullah Al-Mosarraf, chief of the Al-Riyadh Schools, a chain of schools supervised by Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman.
“King Abdullah cares not only for Saudi Arabia, but for all Muslims across the globe and all mankind on this planet.”
Speaking of a possible boycott of the Syrian regime and its oil and gas exports, Ehab A. Al-Harbi, an Arab businessman, warned that such measures could be taken if the international community including the GCC and the Arab League agrees.
“Syria produces some 380,000 barrels of oil a day, much of which is exported to Europe, including Germany,” he said.
“In fact, there is need to act now,” said a GCC official. He pointed out that the political unrest in Syria had also stymied several Gulf investment projects in the country and harmed efforts to attract capital needed to boost its economy. Saudi Arabia alone has set up 22 projects in agriculture, industry, transport and health sectors with cumulative investments worth millions of dollars. This is in addition to the SR375 million given as loan by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) to Syria a couple of months ago. Saudi Arabia is also home to thousands of Syrian workers and their families.
Muhammad Shabib Al-Ghamdi, a business consultant, said the statement reflected King Abdullah’s chivalry and his keenness toward protecting the interests of the common people, especially those in the Islamic world.
“Saudis and Syrians have brotherly relations. The stand taken by the king is in favor of the Syrian people,” Al-Ghamdi said, adding that the king’s statement was expected in the wake of the suppression of anti-government protests in the country.
“King Abdullah’s statement also demonstrated the position of Saudi Arabia as a regional power. The Kingdom had never kept quiet on the continuing human rights violations in Syria. The king’s stand is also the stand of the Saudi people,” he said.
Al-Ghamdi expected more Arab countries to follow suit and stand against the oppressive actions of the Syrian government.
Hamdan Al-Harbi, a journalist working for Okaz Arabic daily, said the king’s statement would embarrass Arab regimes that have so far kept silent about events unfolding in Syria. “The king’s statement came after an escalation of violence in Syria, especially during the holy month of Ramadan,” he said.
Abdul Qader Kilani, a Syrian journalist working in the Kingdom, wondered how long the Arabs would stay silent. He hoped that King Abdullah’s strong statement would contribute to mobilizing support for the Syrians.
“The courage of King Abdullah would definitely change the course of events in Syria,” Kilani said, hoping the violence would end soon.
Yasser Adlabi, another Syrian working in the Kingdom, said his compatriots would not forget the king’s strong and bold statement supporting them. “He was the first Arab leader to call for protecting the rights of Syrian people. I am happy to learn that such a statement came from Saudi Arabia, whom the Syrian people hold in high esteem,” he added.
Bassam Adeeb, another Syrian who is involved in car sales, expressed his hope that other Arab leaders would follow the king’s example to stand by the oppressed Syrian people.
Egyptian Shakir Abdul Aziz, a journalist, believed that the king’s statement would have a tremendous impact on the course of events in Syria. “King Abdullah’s statement came at an apt time. The Syrian regime had thought that Arab leaders would support its oppressive practices,” said Ghassan Abujundiya, a Lebanese citizen.

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