NEO: Saudi Arabia is Setting a Trap for Moscow Yet Again



by Dr. Peter Lvov,   and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

Apparently, Washington has decided to crush Russia along with Iran and Syria, without waiting for the arrival of Hillary Clinton as the head of state. It looks like the behind the scenes rulers of America are afraid of the possible of victory Donald Trump at the upcoming election.

Therefore, they are in a rush to achieve their primary strategic goal – to bring down Vladimir Putin and induce regime change in Russia at any cost. In a bid to achieve this goal they rely on two strategies – the dropping of oil prices and the undermining of Russia’s and Iran’s positions in Syria. The recent scandal with the Olympics, that was brilliantly organized by Washington, London, Paris and Berlin has struck a painful blow to Moscow’s reputation.

A possible defeat in Syria could be way more painful, especially if it is going to be accompanied by the rapidly decreasing oil prices, that would undermine Russia’s economy. These days America has no time to spare, and it’s not presidential election that forces Western think tanks to work around the clock. Washington is fairly concerned with the situation in Turkey, which has decided to turn to Russia and a constant string of terrorist attacks in Europe.

In this respect the recent attacks in Germany sound particularly troublesome for Washington, since this European power has remained a stronghold of European security For sure, Washington is turning yet again to Saudi Arabia, without which Washington it has no chances to push Russia out of oil markets.

Apparently, nobody paid attention to the fact that almost immediately after Mohammad bin Salman Al to the US in mid-June, Washington released the 9/11 report in spite of all the promises and agreements . The very report that states that the members of the Saudi royal family were involved in the preparations of terrorist attacks in New-York.

But why would they do something like this if deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia has promised Washington full assistance in all the possible areas, including military and security cooperation.

This development was followed by an equally strange statement made by Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister on July 22. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir announced that Saudi Arabia is prepared to assist Russia in becoming a great power in the Middle East, that would enjoy the same influence that the Soviet Union used to. Saudi top diplomat said that he’s convinced that it would be reasonable for Russia to enjoy close ties with Saudi Arabia, instead of assisting Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, since Russia may gain access to the markets of the GCC member states and obtain serious investments.

There’s no doubt that the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey has clearly influenced Riyadh’s stance on the Syrian crisis in the light of the possible rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara. Should the attempts of Tehran and Ankara to establish close communication channels succeed, all power in the region will be in the hands of Russia, Turkey and Iran, which would be an extremely worrisome development for Saudi Arabia.

By exploiting this fact Washington has forced the KSA to launch an economic crusade against Moscow yet again.

It should be noted that Riyadh’s position is behind heavily influenced by the EU that has suffered a string of terrorist attacks in recent weeks. Those terrorist attacks were carried out by ISIS, against which Moscow and Tehran have been fighting pretty successfully. For this reason Assad’s resignation is not being demanded in Europe anymore.

Russia’s military presence in Syria has radically changed the balance of powers in the region. Moscow’s determination to move in to save Damascus was an unpleasant surprise for the West and the GCC. Especially due to the fact that Russian-Syrian relations were not that close for Moscow to interfere in the unpredictable Syrian war. Back in 2003 the Kremlin abandoned Saddam Hussein almost without a fight, although Iraq was more important an ally for Moscow than Syria today.

Russian-Iranian military cooperation in Syria along with common interests played a decisive role in this turn. At the same time, the tense situation in Yemen, the depletion of the financial resources of Saudi Arabia provoked by declining oil prices, along with countless victims of terrorist attacks in Europe have led to the weakening of Saudi position on Syria.

Once the US and Saudi diplomatic efforts on Syria failed, Moscow and Tehran started to dictate their own rules of the game. This forced Riyadh back to contacting Russia. Washington counted it accurately this time, since Riyadh was a perfect to the question how to get Russia’s support while providing nothing in return.

And the words of Saudi foreign ministers during his recent visit to Brussels, about Riyadh’s desire to hand over more power to Russia in the Middle East than back in the Soviet Union, makes it even more clear. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir has stated that Russia’s return to the status of superpower is now complete, and its influence will never be less than that of the United States and the European Union.

Moreover, many experts say that Moscow is not interested in Assad as a person, it is only concerned with its own interests in the region. But Saudi Arabia has tried to play this trick on Russia time and time again, promising lucrative contracts that were brought down immediately once Saudi Arabia got what it was after.

But now the situation is more complicated. There’s a lot of voices that say that if Moscow agreed to the Saudi proposal it would mean the restoration of Russia’s economy, especially when Riyadh to other Gulf states remove the pressure they’ve been applying on hydrocarbon market. And then Vladimir Putin will be able to improve the conditions that most Russian citizens live in, thus reducing the criticism within the country.

Should this proposal be accepted, Russia would allegedly open new horizons of cooperation with Europe and the United States, and the conflict with the West over Ukraine gradually comes to naught due to the recovery of the regional role of Russia as a key player on the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Hopefully, Russia will not believe Saudi promises this time too, since if it does it will fall into another trap of the KSA, since the latter is always able to dramatically drop oil prices to undermine Russia’s economy Yet, Moscow will have no means to return Syria’s and Iran’s trust.

Should Moscow refuse, it will still retain its position as the most effective player in the region, since all the cards in her arms now. It just will restore its former presence in the Middle East along with obtaining the much-needed support from Iran, and Turkey too. Tehran and Ankara do only respect the strong. And at the same time it will force the US to go after regime change in Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the preservation of the Russian military presence in Syria will not allow to open a land route for the delivery of Qatari natural gas to Europe, which was to pass through Syrian territory, allowing Moscow to maintain its primacy in Europe in the field of gas exports.

Now comes the crucial moment. As for Russia, and Iran and Syria. Moscow is under the tremendous amount of pressure from the West and the GCC. Sanctions are continuing. NATO closer to Russia’s borders. And while it is not clear who will move into the White House, the Russian Federation in no position to strike a deal with Saudi Arabia.

One can only hope that the cold logic will prevail over the desire to quickly solve all problems at the expense of the Saudi promises that are unlikely to be fulfilled.

Peter Lvov, Ph.D in political science, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.


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