Image 1 of 8: Saudi's money game: KSA has been a loyal supporter of the FSA, though many suspect it's more anti-Shia feeling than revolutionary spirit. Leaked reports exposed just how busy, behind-the-scenes, brokering they've been. Bandar Bin Sultan visited Turkey & Jordan last week threatening to cut off funds if both didn't cough up military aid to the FSA.
Image 1 of 8: The Iranian connection: As early as last month, a "glitch" in an Iranian website gave us a glimpse into the military support Iran was supplying to the Assad regime. Rumors started of Iranian 'shabiha' and this week a set of Iranian 'pilgrims' in Damascus were exposed as Revolutionary Guards. Ahmadinejad seems quite the friendly regime partner.
Image 1 of 8: The defectors' safe-house: after ex-Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab defected to Amman yesterday and the Jordanian government denied knowledge, Qatar stepped in to save the day, saying they would happily house the biggest ministerial defector so far. Yet rumor has it they were more than a little instrumental in his departure in the first place.
Image 1 of 8: The revolutionary nemesis: Russia has become the no.1 enemy for the FSA after providing a slew of weapons for regime forces. Despite efforts by the UK to cut off their transport links, the Russians are getting them through and making no bones about their pro-Assad views at the UN.
Image 1 of 8: The armchair enthusiasts: both the UK & the US have certainly spouted a lot of pro-revolution slogans but so far there has been no talk of "foreign intervention" a la NATO campaign for Libya, nor even weapons supplies. There was talk of CIA agents aiding the struggle but nothing confirmed and GB said it would only send "non-lethal" aid supplies.
Image 1 of 8: The capitalist connection: as Wikileaks exposed, it wasn't just Russia & China that had been covertly supporting the Assad regime. International fashion magazine Vogue was thoroughly embarrassed after glossing over the first Lady's reputation while massacres occurred. Italian PR companies faced a similar fate, as commercial gains came to light.
Image 1 of 8: For the love of the sectarian strife: never ones to pass up a trouble-stirring opportunity, Lebanese shia group Hezbollah have reportedly sent soldiers direct to the frontline to help out regime troops in Syria. Not surprising, say many, given the shia-to-shia connection between Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Alawi Bashar al Assad.
Image 1 of 8: The unforgotten downed fighter jet: Regional powerhouse Turkey has been one of the most openly-concerned Syrian-watchers of the worried neighbors, given the restive Kurdish population. They've made overtures in support of the rebels from early on in Syria's Spring. Denying military assistance, they reportedly train Syrian spies to help the FSA.
Far from the battlefields of Aleppo and Damascus, a war is raging: but this is more a question of funding and ideologies than tanks and bullets. As the biggest player in the region, Saudi Arabia has been doing its best to appear the savior of the revolution, blackmailing neighboring countries into getting involved in the fight. However, while they are happy to support a largely Sunni majority overthrowing a Shia dictator, they are rather more reticent about the uprisings happening at home.
When there is strife in the Middle East (a constant condition, and therefore moot point), Iran is never far from the fray. In the case of the special relationship with Syria, bed-fellows or partners in crime would not be misnomers. And whether that be covert military support or a battalion of spies captured in Syria, the Persian government is working hard to assist the Assad regime. But beyond the obvious candidates, Western rulers too are brokering deals and providing support behind the scenes.
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