Mohammad bin Nayef is, according to experts on Saudi Arabia, “perhaps the most powerful younger prince” in the royal family. The public describes him as a terse man who handles the affairs of the interior ministry with impressive efficiency and according to Washington; Nayef plays the role of a game changer in Syria, which was evident during Obama’s recent visit to Riyadh. That is to say the folks in D.C. fancy Nayef; he’s a man of “great credibility” and shares the common goal to eradicate regional terrorism. In Eastern Riyadh, the 54-year-old prince has opened a rehabilitation centre for militants, known as the Nayef Centre of Counselling and Care.

All of that is laudable, but it is imperative to analyze the role Saudi – particularly Nayef – has played in Syria in the recent years. The quagmire that is the Syrian civil war can be most accurately described as a tug of war between two magnanimously equipped opposing forces with paralyzed civilians squashed in between. Whether it is the Assad regime that secures support from its regional allies, Iran and Russia or even Hezbollah, or the on-ground rebels who have – numerously proven – received monetary and arms assistance from Saudi and the United States, the fact of the matter is that Nayef’s regime bolstered resistant units that have now resorted to expanding militancy not just within Syria but also neighbouring countries. And that tends to raise some hairs in Washington D.C.

What partners of Nayef failed to mention – we assume by mistake – is that the Syrian opposition that is now increasingly turning to Al-Qaeda’s tactics was once receiving logistic and political support from Qatar, Turkey, France, USA and – surprise – Saudi Arabia. With over one million Syrians displaced from their homes and nearly 70,000 killed, the civil war in the country quickly descended into an endless nightmare a long time ago. Peace talks on Geneva have proven little and delivered even less.

It matters very little whether it was Francois Hollande’s readiness in 2013 to provide assistance through a “controlled framework” to the now-extremist Syrian Opposition Army or the provision of Yugoslav-made recoilless guns and the M79 Osa by Saudi for the Free Syrian Army; the growing militancy in the Arabian Peninsula is not a spontaneously occurring phenomenon but a purposefully propagated chain of events. And Nayef will have to find an impartial strategy to confront it.