Syria has been the scene of unrest since March 2011 and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil.
An interview with Ali Al Ahmed, director of the Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs (IGA), from Washington, to further discuss the issue.
Q: France is the main supporter of regime change in Syria. How much will this issue be brought up and discussed with the Saudi king?
Ahmed: I think it will be discussed very closely because both the Saudi and French governments are collaborating in trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
We will see arms deals signed, and Saudi petrodollars going to France to buy the French decision to pressure and to escalate the French position against the Syrian government.
As we saw in Libya where the Qataris paid the bill for the French, now it’s the Saudi’s turn to pay so the French can escalate the situation in Syria.
Q: France claims it’s a flag-bearer of democracy, then why does it supply arms to countries in the Middle East region that have no democracy, namely Saudi Arabia which he is about the visit?
Ahmed: The statement that the French or the Americans are the guardians of democracy and human rights is incorrect because these countries support largely dictatorships especially in the [Persian] Gulf countries. All the [Persian] Gulf countries, all the [Persian] Gulf monarchies are supported by the United States, Britain and France without any condition.
We have not heard a single word of condemnation of any actions or violence by the governments against their people, and occupation of these people in the region by their governments.
I don’t think any government, especially the French and the Americans, can credibly claim that they are defending democracy. In fact, the United States especially has no respect for the people in the region, and it does not view them as people who deserve who have dignity and democracy.
Q: How much would such moves by France to arm, for example, Saudi Arabia, and such moves by other countries by the West in particular, how much would this lead to an arms race in the Middle East?
Ahmed: The Saudi government has been the largest purchaser of Western arms for many decades, and, of course, that created a lot of instability. The Saudi monarchy has been stockpiling these weapons, and selling them or shipping them to problem areas as we saw in Syria, in Yemen, in Bahrain and other areas. It tried to foment more instability.
At the end, these stockpiles of weapons will be used against the ruling family and will be used later by the people of that country to stop the Western hegemony in the region.
You are seeing here, really, a French government that is careless about its support for a regime that might not survive many years in the future, and those weapons will end up being used to push them out of the region.