In a move unprecedented since the wave of protests across the Middle East began, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has sharply condemned the actions of the Syrian regime ‘demanding the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed’ and recalling the Saudi Ambassador for consultation. Both Kuwait and Bahrain have followed suit today announcing the recall of their Ambassadors from Damascus. Kuwaiti parliamentarians called on all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to do the same. The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister hinted at further coordinated action saying “There will be a meeting in the near future for Gulf foreign ministers to discuss the developments in Syria."
Syria is finding itself increasingly isolated as its neighbours as well as regional organisations (the Arab League and the GCC both publically condemned the violence over the weekend) step up their condemnation of the regime’s actions.
Hussein Shobokshi, a well known Saudi TV journalist who has long been questioning the international silence on Syria, sees these developments as a turning point for the future of the Syrian regime. He is reported as saying "I think these will ignite the spirit of protesters and give them hope that the international, Saudi and Islamic, Arab communities are firmly behind them. It will give them hope that victory is in sight... I do not think that the Syrian government's position is reversible. I think it is doomed and we should all now start dealing with a post-Assad reality.’
The text of the Saudi statement reads as follows:
Aug 8, 2011, Saudi Press Agency
"In the name of God the Merciful
"And prayers and peace be upon His Messenger and his family and companions.
"To our brothers in Syria, Syria of Arabism and Islam:
"Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you:
"The repercussions of events in sister Syria resulted in the loss of large numbers of martyrs, whose blood was shed, and other numbers of wounded and injured. Everyone knows that every sane Muslim and Arab or others are aware that this is not of religion, values, or ethics. Shedding the blood of innocent people for whatever reasons or justifications will not find a reassuring opening that can enable Arabs, Muslims, and the whole world to see a glimmer of hope except through activation of wisdom by the Syrian leadership and carrying out of its historic role in a crossroads that only Allah knows where it leads to.
"What is happening in Syria is unacceptable to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The event is greater than can be justified by reasons, but rather the Syrian leadership can activate quick and comprehensive reforms. The future of Syria is between only two options: either it chooses wisdom willingly, or drifts into the depths of chaos and loss, may Allah forbid.
"The brotherly Syrian government and people knows the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's positions by it in the past. Today, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands before its historical responsibility towards her brothers, demanding the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, use of reason before it is too late, introduction and activation of reforms that are not entwined with promises, but actually achieved so that our brothers the citizens in Syria can feel them in their lives as dignity, glory and pride. In this regard, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces the recall of its ambassador for consultation on current events there.
"Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you."