Saudi king aiming to split Syria-Iran alliance


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The king of Saudi Arabia will travel to Syria to try to weaken the Syria-Iran alliance, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Saudi officials told the paper that King Abdullah will press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to loosen his country’s ties with Iran as well as build Arab consensus on other regional issues, including the formation of a new government in Lebanon and reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah.

The Wall Street Journal said Damascus is portraying the trip as a sign of the increased importance of Syria in the region. Relations between the Saudis and Syrians froze in 2005 after the assasination of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri, a friend of the Saudi royal family. Syria has been suspected of playing a role in the killing.

Ties have warmed in recent months, however, with the Saudis sending an ambassador back to Damascus after an 18-month vacancy.

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