With the US, Britain, and other coalition members seemingly egging them on, Saudi Arabia has reiterated its plans to send ground troops to Syria to “fight ISIS.” The exact timing of the deployment and the size of the force are still a mystery.
It’s a deployment with a lot of import behind it, however, as Saudi Arabia has repeatedly threatened to remove the Assad government from power in Syria “by force,” and the Syrian government will definitely not be giving the Saudis permission to invade.
Russian officials are also warning against the deployment, with Premier Dmitry Medvedev warning that the Saudi invasion could spark a “new world war.” The US State Department dismissed the concern, insisting anything that happens would be Russia’s fault.
British officials also suggested sending Saudi troops would be a good way to scare the Russians away from Syria airstrikes, because they wouldn’t want to risk their trade ties. This seems to be a serious gamble, however, as Russia has a lot of interest in keeping the Saudis from imposing a settlement in Syria and trying to install a pro-US government there.