Saudi Arabia supports Al Qaeda in Syrian destabilization

Saudi Arabia, cooperating with American and British intelligence and other Arab governments, has increased deliveries of weapons to rebels fighting in southern Syria.   Leaders in Saudi Arabia and allies like Qatar chafed as rebel leaders fumed that their larger need — a way to shift the balance in the two-year-old civil war and end the army’s bombardment of towns and neighborhoods — was being ignored.

Since the chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that American officials blame on the Syrian government, rebels and analysts say the Saudis have stepped up deliveries of light weapons and antitank guided missiles. The aim was initially to bolster the rebels’ ability to take advantage of any American strikes by storming damaged or undefended bases, analysts and rebels say — though the Saudis refrained from sending the antiaircraft missiles that the rebels covet most. The Syrian government has denied responsibility for the chemical attack.

Rebel fighters felt they were being “left alone,” without “direct military support” from the United States.

Saudi Arabia has a strong interest in capitalizing on the Syrian crisis to weaken Iran and sever its alliance with Syria. For months, Saudi Arabia has been quietly funneling arms, including antitank missiles, to Free Syrian Army groups through Jordan, working covertly with American and British intelligence and Arab governments that do not want their support publicly known.

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