Publishe Date: 9:34 PM - 6/25/2013 | Print

Iran Cautions against Doha Meeting's Repercussions

Politics - Iran on Tuesday warned the participants in the so-called 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Doha that their decision to send arms to the rebels in Syria would further deteriorate the crisis in the Muslim country.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in Tehran on Tuesday when asked by reporters about Iran's position on the Geneva II conference on Syria due to be co-hosted by the US and Russia in Switzerland.

Araqchi welcomed any political discussion in pursuit of a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria, but said there are some obstacles to the success of the Geneva II conference, including the decisions made in the recent 'Friends of Syria' meeting in Doha to further arm the rebel groups in Syria.

"Certain attempts are made alongside this idea (of holding the Geneva II conference) which run counter to the goals pursued by the Geneva meeting, including the recent meetings which were held and the efforts which were made to arm the dissident groups and these (moves) would provoke tension and conflict in Syria," he added.

"We are surprised that those who claim to be advocates of a peaceful settlement of the issue (in Syria) move towards arming the Takfiri and dissident groups," Araqchi underlined.

The foreign ministers of the so-called 'Friends of Syria' countries held a meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday to discuss the volume and recipients of arms supplies to the rebels in Syria. The US and other western states allege that they intend to funnel arms into the hands of the Free Syrian Army to avoid equipment of terrorist groups with advanced weapons.

But, diplomatic sources present at the meeting told FNA on Sunday that both the FSA and the al-Nusrah Front had sent separate letters to the meeting to warn the participants about the destination of the arms supplies.

"The commander of the al-Nusrah Front in a letter to the Doha conference called on the countries which took part in the meeting to supply the group with 50% of the weapons decided to be sent to the rebel groups in Syria," a diplomat present at the meeting said on the condition of anonymity for fear of his life.

According to the diplomat the letter warned the participants that "they should wait for dire consequences if they refrain from complying with the al-Nusrah request".

"Also, the ringleader of the 'Free Syrian Army' Salim Idriss in a separate letter to the conference demanded that FSA be the only recipient of any future arms supplies to be sent by the participants to Syria," added the diplomat.

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani announced that 9 of the countries attending the 'Friends of Syria' conference agreed on providing the Syrian militant groups with military aids.

“The Syrian militants need military support, not a moral one,” he said in a joint press conference with the US Secretary of State John Kerry after the meeting.

The al-Nusrah Front has been behind many of the deadly bombings targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria since the outbreak of violence in March 2011.

On May 10, Syria's Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said the al-Nusrah Front has claimed responsibility for carrying out at least 600 acts of terror in the past year. Jaafari also slammed the group for attacking hospitals and schools, desecrating holy places, assassinating religious figures, and abducting UN personnel in Syria.

The West has been widely criticized for its double standard when it comes to dealing with terrorist groups.

Over two years of foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

In October 2011, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.

The US and its western and regional allies have long sought to topple Bashar al-Assad and his ruling system. Media reports said that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The US daily, Washington Post, reported in May 2012 that the Syrian rebels and terrorist groups battling the President Bashar al-Assad's government have received significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, a crime paid for by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by the United States.

The newspaper, quoting opposition activists and US and foreign officials, reported that Obama administration officials emphasized the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the Persian Gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.

Opposition activists who had earlier complained that the rebels were running out of ammunition said in May 2012 that the flow of weapons - most bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military in the past - has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Persian Gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.

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