DARING THE SAUDIS: “If Prince Bandar bin Sultan even thinks about threatening Bashar Al Assad, like bombing Qassioon Mountain [location of the presidential residence], we will destroy Mecca on the heads of everybody inside the city.”
This provocative dare was issued by Dr.Fayez Shukir, Regional Secretary of Arab Ba’th Party in Lebanon on the Beirut OTV channel Tuesday.
“But Mecca is a holy city,“ interjects the stunned interviewer.
“So what? Mecca, Riyadh and Jeddah, I’m talking strategically,” the Lebanese Baathist insists.
“Who is going to shell Mecca, Hezbollah? Iran,” asks host George Jasmine on OTV’s Talk of the Day program.
The Shukir interview with Jasmine has generated much comment on line as the discussion pitted a Shia politician threatening Islam’s birthplace against a Christian journalist questioning the wisdom of such a strategy.
Shukir’s warning was issued as speculation continues in the Arab world over possible Russian shifts in Syria policy following Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan’s meeting earlier this month with President Putin.
Security analysts dismiss the likelihood of such a reassessment.
“Support for Assad is a matter of principle for Vladimir Putin,” wrote Alexander Goltz in the Moscow newspaper Ejednevny.
“Even the bait of $15 billion, a huge sum that represents two years’ turnover for Rosoboronexport (Russia’s arms exporting agency), will have no effect,” concluded the Russian military expert.