Hisham Jaber, a local defence analyst claimed that Saudi Arabia is looking forward to increase its sphere of influence, by intervening in conflicts such as the one happening in Syria. He said that the Saudi authorities have always wanted to play the role of a regional superpower, but unfortunately they have failed in this mission for the last one decade or so. He claimed that the main Syrian opposition group, the Free Syrian Army is directly funded by the Saudis, who provide them with weapons and hard cash.
Jaber however warned that the Saudi support to the mostly Islamist rebel groups, some of them having explicit relations with the Al-Qaeda, can backfire upon them. He said that Saudi Arabia is pumping in a lot of money, in addition to the weapons, so that the rebel groups can encourage defections of high ranking officials within the Syrian national army. He claimed that a part of the payments are ending up in the pockets of pro-Al Qaeda groups. Saudi Arabia is fighting a low-level Islamist insurgency in its territory, against the Al Qaeda and groups affiliated to it.
Earlier this week Michael J. Totten to the World Affairs journal had issued a warning on the continuing Islamization of the Syrian uprising. He claimed that most of the secular opposition groups are worried at the support the Islamist factions receive from Saudi Arabia. They fear that the Islamist groups can overshadow the other groups in the uprising, which was started by the mostly secular and liberal Sunni Arab groups living in Syria.