In a written statement read out on Al Arabiya satellite television, the King said, "What is happening in Syria is not acceptable for Saudi Arabia," and added that the events in Syria had "nothing to do with religion, or values, or ethics."
He added, "Syria should think wisely before it's too late and issue and enact reforms that are not merely promises but actual reforms. Either it chooses wisdom on its own or it will be pulled down into the depths of turmoil and loss."
Coming from Saudi Arabia, it indeed comes as a surprise because of multiple reasons. Firstly the Gulf Arab country is an absolute monarchy which is though not an exact replication of the type of government in Syria rather an equivalent.
Second, there has long been a general understanding of sorts between the various Arab countries about not meddling in each other's affair. Saudi did not take such drastic measures during the civil unrest in Bahrain.
Third, it was seen as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to stay aloof from uprisings in the various Middle East countries in order to insulate its population from the wave of revolts that have toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia.
King Abdullah's message was appreciated by its ally, the United States. A US State Department official said that the statement was a strong signal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.
The official said, "This is another clear sign that the international community, including Syria's neighbors, are repulsed by the brutal actions of the Syrian government and will continue to stand with the people of Syria."