The Saudis and Syria

I don't get it — does Saudi Arabia support a ceasefire or a continued insurrection in Syria? It can't be both!

Syrian official takes hard line on troop withdrawal

‘‘I believe we all agree on the need for an immediate cease-fire to the systematic killing,’’ Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said at a joint news conference with Clinton.

He said arming the Syrian opposition is a ‘‘duty’’ so that it can defend itself against Assad’s onslaught.

Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar have spoken about possible military intervention, from arming Syria’s badly overmatched rebels to creating safe zones from which the rebels can operate.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.