Wide Angle

Saudi Arabia to send ground troops to Syria but what about Morocco ?

Despite being stuck in the Yemen war against the Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia is planning to send ground troops to Syria to fight against ISIS and Morocco is highly impacted by this new decision.

Saudi Arabia wants to send troops to Syria./Ph. DR
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Attended by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a new Islamic Coalition against Terrorism meeting was held Tuesday in Saudi Arabia. A Moroccan military delegation took part in the same session hosted by Riyadh. The Kingdom is, by the way, a member of this coalition created in December 2015 by Mohammed Ben Salmane, then Minister of Defense and Crown Prince.

The meeting in Riyadh was obviously preceded by President Donald Trump’s decision made public during his speech, delivered March the 30th in Ohio. He told the audience at the time that the United States will be «coming out of Syria» very soon. The Republican complained about the considerable money the U.S. has spent in the Middle East, insisting that the war against ISIS has been too costly for the country.

The Saudi Foreign Minister announced Tuesday during a press briefing with the UN Secretary-General that his country is fully ready to send ground troops to Syria to fight against the ISIS forces. «We are discussing that with the United States and have been doing so since the beginning of the Syrian crisis», in 2011, said Adel Al Joubeir. For the record, Saudi Arabia had submitted to the Obama administration the same proposal but without receiving an answer.

Would Moroccan soldiers be sent to Syria ?

Morocco which is a member of the Islamic Coalition against Terrorism, is deeply impacted by this new Saudi military intervention, the second one after that in Yemen. Yesterday’s meeting was mainly devoted to sending ground troops to Syria.

For the moment, Rabat has not commented on the Saudi decision. A reaction that is similar to the one Morocco went for following  Moroccan forces' interventions in Syria, Iraq and then in Yemen.

For several decades, the kingdom has been committed to defend the Saudi territory and has gone on supporting Riyadh against any external threat and the «Islamic State in Iraq and Syria» is obviously part of it.

In addition to the good diplomatic relations between Morocco and Saudi Arabia, the Trump administration and most precisely, National Security Advisor John Bolton is leading a campaign trying to make Arab and Muslim-majority countries send their soldiers to Syria.

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