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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Saudis have offered Moscow a share in the middle East and the power of the Soviet times


Saudi Arabia, Russia made an indecent proposal. The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Kingdom promised in exchange for refusal to support Assad “to give Moscow the share in the middle East, which will make Russia a more powerful force than the Soviet Union was”. Russia will never agree to such a deal, but, nevertheless, may receive Arab investment.

In a visit to Brussels foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Adel al-Jubeir gave an interview to Politico in which the first plain text voiced what had previously only discussed in the margins. He said that Riyadh is ready to offer Moscow cooperation and market access of the countries of the Persian Gulf, as well as to the investment potential of which, according to him, more than Chinese – in that case, if Russia refuses to support the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:

“Although the Saudis and ends in the departure of Assad, Russia needs them more than they us”

“We are ready to give Russia a share in the middle East, which will make Russia more powerful force than the Soviet Union”

Al-Jubeir said that the positions of Moscow and Riyadh on Syria “differ not so much in what should be the outcome of the conflict, but the means of achieving it”, adding that “Assad’s days are numbered, so make the deal before it’s too late”. “It would be wise for Russia to say that in that direction our relations will continue to advance our interests, and not with Assad,” – concluded the Minister.

It is certainly not a diplomatic statement before such things the Saudis said only behind closed doors. For example, three years ago, in August 2013, after a visit to Moscow by Prince Bandar, the then Secretary of the security Council and the head of the General intelligence Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese press has a “leak” that the most influential emissary allegedly offered Putin to buy Russian arms worth USD 15 billion if Moscow refuses to support Assad.

It is unlikely that the Prince suggested that in the open – but in any case, all the years of the Syrian conflict, the Saudis are trying to negotiate with Moscow. Different ways – including the promise to “fill up Russia. But in the summer of 2013, and now such proposals will not find the response is due to a number of reasons.

First, in 2013 a lot has happened – after a month, Putin stopped the already-prepared American strike on Syria. Yes, Obama himself did not really want to start to strike, after which could detonate the entire middle East – but it is the position of Russia prevented a seemingly inevitable attack. This, incidentally, led to a sharp deterioration in other dimensions – the Saudis finally disappointed in Americans (and a month later pointedly refused to reliance they place a non-permanent member of the UN security Council), and in Washington became even more wary of the strengthening of Russia’s position having played a role in that followed the battle for Ukraine.

Second, last fall Russia launched a military operation in Syria – after what to say about “the fall of Assad” was quite irrelevant. All attempts by the US and the Turks and the Saudis to persuade Russia to change Assad at any encounter a hard failure and it is clear why. Russia returns to the middle East where gradually leave US – and leave it wandering in combinations with allies and enemies, military actions and coups. Moscow supports a traditional ally of Syria and Assad as the basis of global and regional interests. Brewed in Iraq and Syria, the mess threatens to destabilize the entire region and can spread to our Muslim territory.

USA destabilized the middle East, destroyed or contributed to the destruction of several countries – Russia, by contrast, attempts to stabilize the situation, including to maintain a unified Syria. And, of course, to strengthen its position in the region, which were lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union. All opponents of Assad with this commend sequence Russia in support of “their” – and the contrast with the betrayal by the Americans of the same Egyptian President Mubarak this is further argument in favor of a serious relationship to Russia. If Russia “has handed Assad”, it would not only have not achieved their goals in the region, but would have lost the respect earned, even among his enemies in the neighbouring countries.

At the same time Russia does not want to be seen as the enemy of Sunnis and so trying to portray our country, those who want to prevent the strengthening of our positions in the region. Yes, our ally in Syria supports Shiite Iran – which really builds his “arc” from the South of Lebanon via Syria and the Shiite part of Iraq. But in the centuries of confrontation of Sunnis and Shiites Russia is not the Shiite side – it is important for us calm in the region. Close relations with Iran do not cancel for us, nor the possibility of good relations with Turkey, nor the desirability of establishing strong ties with the Gulf monarchies led by Saudi Arabia.

The relationship with Saudi Arabia is important for Russia both in regional and in global terms – Syrian settlement largely depends on the position of the Saudis and those in their orbit of the Persian Gulf. It is the monarchy of the cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) are major political and financial opponent of Assad, supporting part of his opponents. And despite the fact that the project of an “Islamic Caliphate” is for those same Saudis are just deadly. But in Riyadh is considered a major threat for Shia and perceive all events in the region through the prism of Iran, which see their age-old enemy.

Therefore, when Riyadh is trying to bribe Moscow, he has in mind not simply the refusal to support Assad – but the weakening of Russian-Iranian cooperation. But it is similarly unacceptable for Russia, Iran is our neighbour and geopolitical supporter, we have many common interests and potential areas of cooperation, from economic to global. Russia’s goal is to become for the countries of the Middle East conciliating stabilizing factor to develop strong long term relationships with key countries in the region, which include Saudi Arabia and Iran. Attempt to Riyadh to offer Russia to play in the region of something like the recent role of the United States – when the United States was the enemy of Iran and the main guarantor of security of Saudi Arabia – absolutely meaningless.

Not only because Russia is not going to – nor can afford – to keep the region’s vast fleet and military bases. Not only because the US is not going to withdraw completely from the Persian Gulf – they will only gradually reduce its presence. But first and foremost because Russia wants to increase its influence in the region through military presence (it is the only necessary element), and through building strong and mutually beneficial relations with both the Sunni and Shiite States in the region. Russia is not interested either in grazing them with each other or the game on contradictions – on the contrary, we believe that the foreign intervention, the Anglo-Saxon forces is largely the reason for the current difficult situation in the region.

Although the Saudis and ends in the departure of Assad, Russia needs them more than they us – the issues of security, war and peace has always been more important than purely financial. Moreover, performatively world order leads to the fact that boiling and so the Arab world is in the zone of high turbulence – and he is interested in closer relations with the initiators of the “global perestroika”, that is, with Russia and China. Most of the Arab countries in recent years aim to establish closer relations with Moscow – and after the beginning of the Syrian operation, this process only accelerated.

But Saudi Arabia, which claims leadership of the Arab world – with a weak Egypt, this seat remains vacant – still trying to bargain. The visit of king Salman, originally planned for last autumn, has been postponed and it is not yet clear when will this landmark trip. During this time, I arrived in Moscow even the Emir of Qatar – a country with which we in recent years have been the most complicated relationships of all the countries of the Gulf. Every year Putin arrives the second man in the United Arab Emirates crown Prince Mohammed (his father never travels in a non-Muslim state), and the son of the Saudi king twice in the last year was in Russia.

The Saudis, of course, can pull, to be sure that Assad will not fall, and the United States will not tear the “Iranian deal” or to take Damascus this time they should hurry “to conclude a deal with Russia. Of course, if they are ready for strategic relations in the region and the economy. To understand the importance of such a relationship are getting closer and closer Emirates – additional evidence what are your plans for the purchase of Russian weapons.

The Gulf is what Russia needs investment. That is a lot of money collected in various funds and securities. Only $ 700 billion in a sovereign Fund Dubai (UAE), Kuwait 500, trillions Saudi Arabia. Only Saudi investments in the US exceed 750 billion, and Riyadh, all threatening to bring the money from the States. All of these funds, of course, was created by Western financiers, and continue to cope with them – so that the influence of the city of new York in Arabic stash is large, and therefore easily dismiss the appeals “not to give money of Russia” princes can’t.

But interest in investment in Russia from the Gulf is – and our country in recent years tried to attract Arab money. Both at the Federal and at the regional level – using the Muslim regions. For example, Tatarstan in the past year, overseeing the “Islamic banking” increased investments from the Gulf countries to nearly 800 million dollars. Ramzan Kadyrov, who is called the brother of sheikhs and princes, attracted by comparable amounts from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

At the Federal level only in 2014-2015, Gulf countries pledged Russia some $ 25 billion of investments, which Moscow will host the Russian direct investment Fund (RDIF). Thus, the Saudi state Fund Public Investment Fund signed an agreement on investment $ 10 billion – the largest in the history of the FUND. The money needs to be invested over the next five years. In second place is a Fund from the UAE with seven billion. Two billion is going to invest the Qatari Fund a billion already invested Kuwaitis, the agreement with Bahrain.

So Gulf countries and so want to invest money in Russia, but it is clear that 25 billion is not the limit, but only a kind of demonstration of the possibilities. And get more “water investments” Russia could not, in exchange for Assad’s head, but only in the case if you will continue to fight for the new world order in the middle East and around the world as a geo-political and financial.

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