Saudis bankroll new rebel force to fight own war on Assad

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia, exasperated with U.S. vacillation related to Syria’s chemical arsenal and now its effort to reconcile with Iran, Riyadh’s foremost adversary, is forging a new alliance of Islamist rebels in Syria under a pro-Saudi warlord to supersede the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army.

Riyadh also wants to foment an Iraq-style “Sunni Awakening” to unite Syria’s majority sect to topple the minority Damascus regime of President Bashar Assad.

Middle East analyst Michael Weiss, writing in the Beirut Web portal Now Lebanon, observed Riyadh has “taken substantive measures to circumvent Washington altogether on Syria by activating a cadre of new clients in the form of a hard-line Salafist rebels who are now united under the umbrella of the army of Islam. Continue reading