12:08 p.m. September 10, 2013

The Saudi Dirty Dozen and Jihadi as Risk Disposal

While the U.S. ditzes around on Syria, the Saudis have been a little more creative, in their own inimitable way.

Until now, the Saudis’ public involvement in Syria consisted of throwing great flipping wodges of cash to the nastiest jihadi groups trying to carve out an Emirate in NE Syria, like ISIS, and paying the airfares of every unemployable Chechen of military age to make the heavily-armed Hajj to eastern Syria. But that hasn’t really done the job. Like I said long ago, the lines in Syria have been remarkably static, because the locals mostly want to secure their own neighborhood and don’t have much heart to push into anyone else’s.

Well, it seems some Saudi bureaucrats looked at the stalemate in Syria and came up with a way to think outside the box—and by "box" I mean "death row cell." According to a story filed by A.I.N.A., an Iraqi Assyrian PR agency, the Saudi Ministry of Interior came up with a brand-new plague to inflict on Syria in 2012: "Let’s fly a bunch of death-row inmates over there and give them automatic weapons!" Seriously. Here’s the memo:

…we are in dialogue with the accused criminals who have been convicted with smuggling drugs, murder, rape, from the following nationalities: 110 Yemenis, 21 Palestinians, 212 Saudis, 96 Sudanese, 254 Syrians, 82 Jordanians, 68 Somalis, 32 Afghanis, 94 Egyptians, 203 Pakistanis, 23 Iraqis, and 44 Kuwaitis.

We have reached an agreement with them that they will be exempted from the death sentence and given a monthly salary to their families and loved ones, who will be prevented from traveling outside Saudi Arabia in return for rehabilitation of the accused and their training in order to send them to Jihad in Syria.

Please accept my greetings.

[Signed]

Director of follow up in Ministry of Interior

Abdullah bin Ali al-Rmezan

You might be inclined to doubt the story, if only because every story on Syria comes from some sleazy angle or other. And this one, coming from the Iraqi Christian minority, who live in terror of jihadi pogroms, is clearly intended to make the Saudis look bad.

But unlike most stories on Syria, this one comes with names and dates and a copy of the memo laying out the whole Dirty Dozen scheme. And the truth is, you don’t need to make stuff up to make Saudi Arabia look bad. They’ve been losing it on Syria, running into enemies they can’t bribe or get their American mercenaries to kill for them. (Although that may change any day now, as Obama crusades to make the world safer for Wahhabi Bedouins with more Maseratis than brains.)

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