The expanded military crackdown being orchestrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against his own people has triggered a wave of global criticism and prompted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait to recall their ambassadors from the country.
The move early this week by regional powers to distance themselves from the Assad government effectively means that Syria has lost the support the Gulf Cooperation Council, notes Andrew Tabler, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "That, combined with the visit to Syria by [Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu] today, is a big loss for the Assad regime," he told Trend Lines this morning, adding that the international community is watching closely to see what comes of the visit.
But, said Tabler, it is the Saudi shift in posture that will likely have the greatest impact inside Syria. Following the Saudi ambassador's recall from Damascus on Monday, Saudi King Abdullah made harsh statements condemning the latest violence in Syria, which coincided with the start of Ramadan on Sunday. "The Saudi move has implications, in that Saudi Arabia has extensive financial and familial ties to the tribes of eastern Syria, where there has been a big assault by the regime over the past few days," Tabler said.