‘Saudi Arabia’s Plan B on Syria calls for support for terrorists’

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir arrives to attend a meeting about Syria at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris, France, on May 9, 2016. © Philippe Lopez
The Saudi ‘Plan B’ on Syria is mind-boggling because it means intensifying support to the groups declared by the international community as terrorists, says Daoud Khairallah, Professor of International Law at Georgetown University.

Following a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Vienna on Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir spoke to journalists and said a Plan B should have been implemented in Syria a long time ago.

RT discussed the developments in the Syrian peace talks with Daoud Khairallah, Professor of International Law at Georgetown University.

RT: Let's talk about the Plan B Saudi Arabia is pushing for. It openly speaks about the military support for the opposition. Why is Riyadh so willing to engage militarily?

Daoud Khairallah: The Plan B that Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir has spoken about is really mind-boggling. He wants to intensify support for whom? We know that territories that are not under government control, 80 percent of those territories are under the control of ISIS and Al-Nusra and other derivatives of Al-Qaeda. Fifteen percent are under the Kurds which will not get any support. So, supporting the terrorists declared by the international community as terrorists is what Al-Jubeir is calling for. The US knows well, as well as Saudi Arabia, that if Bashar Assad is to fall those who are going to take his place would be a terrorist organization. Yet, he is talking about this support. I think the real problem resides with the American position. John Kerry talking about the war in Syria said that it will not end until Assad surrenders. In other words, we are using terrorism, fomenting terrorism to achieve political objectives. And it is a major issue legally and ethically.

RT: Washington has previously spoken of Plan B as well. Do you think the US supports Saudi Arabia on this?  

DK: I think Saudi Arabia and Turkey would not do what they have been doing, in other words supporting sponsoring terrorism in Syria and particularly throughout other regions, without the US at least consent to this. I think the US bears major responsibility about the Plan B and any kind of implementation of Plan B, especially when they declare that they want to fight terrorism.

RT: The UN ambassador for the Syrian conflict Staffan de Mistura told our channel a couple of weeks ago that there is no room for Plan B in Syria and political settlement is the only option. But months of talks seem to have brought little progress. Can the Syrian conflict be solved through diplomacy?

DK: It can and it should if it is left to the Syrian people without foreign interference. I don’t think there is a Syrian national who would want to destroy his country. This continuation of the war, the destruction… no Syrian…would accept that it goes on. The Syrians would and should find a way to solve this problem. And there is no other way. It is a Syrian responsibility to solve it, it is a Syrian responsibility to choose who they want as a government, as a leader…And this is international law; this is the way things should act. But apparently some countries feel free to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries even if this is a clear violation of international law and even if this leads to committing international atrocious crimes as it is being committed by Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other derivatives of Al-Qaeda.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.