"Dozens of conservative Saudi Arabian clerics have called for Arab and Muslim countries to "give all moral, material, political and military" support to what they term a jihad, or holy war, against Syria's government and its Iranian and Russian backers.
Although the clerics who signed the online statement are not affiliated with the government, their strong sectarian and anti-Christian language reflects a growing anger among many Saudis over Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria's civil war.
Russia last week started air strikes against Syrian opposition targets. The Kremlin, a staunch supporter of the ruling Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, says it wants to weaken the militant group known as the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey and other Gulf states, has supported rebels trying to unseat the Assad regime and has denounced the Russian attacks. The clerics' statement portrayed the Russian bombardments as part of an Orthodox Christian crusade.
"The holy warriors of Syria are defending the whole Islamic nation. Trust them and support them ... because if they are defeated, God forbid, it will be the turn of one Sunni country after another," the statement said." news.vice.com
So... The Saudi ulema are declaring the war in Syria, and presumably in Iraq as well to be a Sunni jihad against the Shia, Alawis, Yazidis and the "crusaders." Fine, that clarifies the situation. BTW, to claim that the ulema and the Saudi government and royal family are separate entities is disingenuous in the extreme. These parts of Saudi society are so tightly tied together that there are few real differences within this tri-partite amalgam.
Lavrov has now indicated some willingness to consider a request from the government of Iraq for assistance. This raises the possibility of an anti-jihadi war waged across Arabia. Would this be a bad thing?
In the present moment Russian ground forces are appearing on the battlefield in NW Syria. Their air force is already there. I continue to expect to see a Russian ground combat force built for the Syrian theater mission. The Western media are trying to make something of association of the word "volunteer" with these ground forces. This description is probably useful within Russia to avoid political resistance to the idea of sending conscripts abroad.