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      Saudi Monarch Enjoys Turning Table on Tehran

      After being on the defensive at the outset of the Arab Spring, the Saudis, thanks to the Syrian protests, can pay Iran back.
      By Amiel Ungar
      First Publish: 8/8/2011, 7:57 PM

      When the Arab Spring erupted, the so-called "Resistance Front" of Iran and Syria and Hizbullah had things pretty much their own way.

      The fall of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the desire of the ensuing regime to improve relations with Iran was undoubtedly a major victory for them. 

      The spread of the protests to Bahrain and Jordan, both on the threshold of Saudi Arabia, menaced the key conservative state in the region.

      Saudi King Abdullah undoubtedly had a sense of poetic justice when he went on the Saudi sponsored Al Arabiya television station to announce the cancellation of all support for Syria. Now the Saudi royal family can portray itself as being on the side of the angels in calling for human rights and democracy.

      "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia... demands an end to the death machine and bloodshed and calls for acts of wisdom before it is too late ... Syria should think wisely before it is too late and issue and enact reforms that are not merely promises but actual reforms," he said.

      The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, where Saudi influence is strong, issued a call for ending the violence in Syria and promptly implementing reforms.

      The Syrian regime responded in a statement to the Chinese news agency Xinhua complaining that the GCC had issued its call while disregarding "facts presented by Syria, both in terms of slaughter and sabotage acts perpetrated by armed groups that target Syria's security and sovereignty."

      The crisis in Syria is already causing reverberations in Lebanon, as opponents of the Hizbullah-dominated government are attacking it due to its unstinting support for the Syrian regime.

      Lebanese parliamentarian, Ahmad Fatfat, called Lebanon's vote at the UN Security Council, opposing a condemnation of the Syrian government, "shocking" and betraying a "lack of solidarity with the Syrian people."

      Another MP, Jamal Jarrah, criticized the “Hizbullah government’s position regarding the popular movement in Syria." By its vote, Jarrah charged, the government was isolating Lebanon within the international community.

      One of the most interesting developments was the visit to Turkey by Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Jumblatt, whose own father had been assassinated by the Syrian regime ,was the person who facilitated the formation of the Hizbullah-dominated government.

      He had reached the conclusion that the "Resistance Front" was unbeatable in Lebanon and that the Druze community in Lebanon, to ensure its survival, had to back the stronger horse.

      Now Jumblatt has visited a Turkish government that has declared its hostility to the Assad regime in Syria. Furthermore Jumblatt is scheduled to meet Saad Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon, whose father Rafiq al-Hariri was also murdered by Syria and Hizbullah.

      Perhaps he feels it is time for another switch.