Today: 26 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia sees in Russia a guarantor of sovereignty

Saudi Arabia sees in Russia a guarantor of sovereignty

Tags: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Politics, Analytics, Middle East, War in the Middle East, Syria, International Relations, USA, Terrorism, Iran, Iraq

The consequences of the visit of the Saudi King to Russia are still being analyzed in the world capitals. The long-term or not will be the rapprochement between Moscow and Riyadh? What lies at its basis? Interest of the Saudis to the Russian Federation is explained by various reasons - from the war in Syria and ending with energy. Meanwhile, the two countries have fundamental common interests, which predetermine the possibility of rapprochement.

The trip of King Salman to Moscow is interesting not because Saudi Arabia was the penultimate large state of the world, whose leader was never in Russia (now only the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the former Zaire, the small states of Oceania and Bhutan, whose monarch does not go abroad at all) . The visit of the head of the central Islamic country is interesting in terms of the consequences that he will have for both regional and world politics.

The reaction to the visit of the Saudi monarch is extremely diverse, but has one common element - all underline the growing influence of our country in the Middle East. The article in The Spectator is generally called "How Putin began to rule the Middle East." With all the flair for such judgments, we need to remain realistic - Russia has indeed become a major external player in the Middle East, partly restoring the position of the USSR, but largely due to Putin's skillful use of "geopolitical judo" techniques - our president wrapped up the enemy's energy against him .

In this particular case - the war in Syria and the US desire to reduce its involvement in the affairs of the region led to the fact that Russia took up the post of moderator. Washington was not going to vacate the place of the main mediator - but he started his Middle East affairs to a standstill, creating for Russia a window of opportunities that Putin used.

So now in the region there are two key external players: the US and Russia.

Such a situation was there at the beginning of the 70-x - and now it has returned even in a more favorable alignment for us.

And that's why - then the USSR acted as an anti-colonial and anti-imperialist force. And the Arabs saw the support of Moscow - not conditioned by any communist ideology, but based on common geopolitical interests: we, and they were interested in weakening the position of the West in the region. However, with a number of countries in the region, our country had no relations at all - except for Israel (with which relations were torn after the war 1967) it was Saudi Arabia, and freed from the British monarchies of the Persian Gulf at the beginning of 70. This was the patrimony of the Anglo-Saxons - and they frightened the kings and emirs by the fact that the "red Moscow" is the enemy and Islam, and their throne.

It is clear that the Kremlin leaders did not have any anti-monarchical thoughts - but the Saudis, with whom the USSR had excellent relations before World War II, nevertheless saw in 60-80 our strong friendship with their neighbors Yemenis and Iraqis, secular and socialist .

With the collapse of the USSR, we lost almost everything in the Middle East - and the relations with the Saudis restored in the 90-ies had no development either on our side or on their part. Neither the fallen global weight of Russia nor our positions in the Middle East made us a vital interlocutor for the Saudi monarchy. Everything began to change after 11 September 2001 and the Iraq war 2003. The Saudi princes began to travel to Russia, Putin in 2007 came to Riyadh. And even more quickly everything turned in the last five or six years.

What happened? The world in which the Saudi kingdom was created began to collapse rapidly - and even to the leisurely inhabitants of the palaces in the desert, it became clear that the kingdom bequeathed to them by their father Abdul Aziz al-Saud (and all kings are the children of the founder father of Saudi Arabia) may Do not go through a fundamental transformation of the world order. Saudi Arabia, which has now become Egypt's largest after the Arab population, originated in 1926 under the auspices and design of the British - and from the 40-s the patronage over it was taken by the Americans. This is not an Anglo-Saxon colony - but its foreign policy was based on the fact that the security of the kingdom is guaranteed by the Americans.

If Japan and Germany (the strongest countries of Asia and Europe) were defeated in the war and occupied by the Americans, and because of this even now have limited sovereignty, then Saudi Arabia, potentially the strongest country in the Arab world (due to the fact that it is formed around Mecca and Medina , the two most important shrines of Islam), was not occupied by anyone, but also had limited sovereignty.

Just because it had no state traditions - until 20-ies it was part of the Ottoman Empire, the Caliphate, under the rule of which the Arabs lived for several centuries. With the independence of the Turks, the Anglo-Saxons were replaced as responsible for foreign policy - and for some time this suited everyone. Especially since the Saudi princes were more focused on falconry or the Beirut casino than on an independent foreign policy.

But it is clear that over time, among the many thousands of As-Saud families, a nationally minded stratum began to form - which already harbored both general Arab and general Islamic ambitions. To turn to her, however, it was difficult - the kingdom permanently lived in the ring of enemies, the children of the founding father ruled, and all global issues were solved by the Americans. Which, moreover, skillfully directed the energy of the princes to fight against the "enemies of the faithful": for example, the USSR in Afghanistan.

However, already in 90, the Saudis discovered that the USSR had disappeared, Afghanistan had been liberated from the Communists, even Iraq was defeated and is in blockade, and their country is still the same puppet of the United States. Which accelerated the construction of the world in an American way - completely inconsistent with the Muslim ideas about the correct world order. Moreover, the Americans could not advance in the solution of the Palestinian problem, that is, remove the tension from the most painful issue for all the Arab authorities.

And then it happened 11 September - when the conditional Bin Laden (Saudi citizen) struck yesterday's ally. No one accused the Saudis - yes, the authorities had nothing to do with Bin Laden - but everything began to change. They talked about the war against "Islamic terrorism" - and Washington immediately defeated Afghanistan, and then Iraq. Despite the fact that Saddam was always dislike of the Saudis, Iraq was still a "fraternal Arab country" - and they refused to submit to the Americans their territory for the deployment of their troops.

In Riyadh, however, they expected to use the "American military" for the pressure, and even the defeat of Iran. Iran is not just the Persians who once led the Arabs, not just Shiites opposing the Sunnis, but also a country that, like Saudi Arabia, claims to be the leader of the entire Islamic world. But all the zero years of the US only promised to deal with the "terrible Ayatollahs", tightening sanctions and hinting at the relevance of the military operation. And then, already under President Obama, they began to look for a way out of the Iranian impasse - in order to conclude a "nuclear deal" as a result. The Saudis felt deceived.

Washington began to surrender its allies (like President Mubarak) during the "Arab Spring" - which also strained the Saudis. At the same time, the Americans refused to strike Assad during the war in Syria - which the Saudis really hoped for.

As a result, the main thing in the US-Saudi relations is the trust of Riyadh. They realized that the US is not something that does not guarantee their security - but rather a threat to it.

In the autumn of 2013, Riyadh openly began to complain about the actions of the United States.

A year later, King Abdullah died - and with the new King Salman, his young son Mohammed began to take power. At first he was the second heir and minister of defense - and in that capacity, six months after his father's accession to the throne, he flew to Moscow to Putin. After a few more months, our operation began in Syria. Because of her, the Saudis postponed the visit of the king - but his son's trips became regular, for two years he came to our president four times. And now Salman himself has arrived. To fix the transition of Saudi Arabia to a new level - a sovereign state.

The fact is that the Saudis are seeking in Moscow not for guarantees of restraining us from Iran, not agreements on Syria, or general policy on the oil market. No, of course, they are also worried about our friendship with Iran, and the future of Syria, and the war in Yemen (where we used to have very strong positions), and Lebanon, the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the situation in Libya, and Egypt - and all these topics we have something to discuss with him.

But this is not the main thing - just as for us it is not the most important thing, how much they will buy from us C-400 (and will they buy at all), and how long will the agreements on the reduction of oil production (that is, play along with us on increase, or rather, against falling oil prices), and whether we understand that we are offering them a scheme in which our relations with Iran and with Saudi Arabia will smooth out their contradictions, and not exacerbate them (as the Anglo-Saxons do).

Despite the fact that all these are very important things - there is an even more serious topic.

This topic is our common view on the direction of the development of the situation in the world. Not in the Middle East, the oil market or anywhere else - but in the world as a whole. What should be the world? If, as the Atlantists imagine it, it is clear that strategically we do not follow the path. If another, multipolar, built on the balance of power and interests - then we have something to talk about and negotiate.

What position do the Saudis occupy, how do they want to see the future? They talk about it in plain text. Here is a quote from an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubair, to Izvestia:

"We are equally approaching many issues of the world order. Both countries are interested in respect for international law, observance of the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. We do not want an erosion of the national state. We do not want non-governmental organizations to rule the world. Both countries oppose attempts to impose alien values. "

Further, the minister said that "there are a number of challenges that we can cope with when working together: this is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Syrian crisis, Iraq, Yemen, Libya," and that "politically our positions are closer than many people think. " But the main thing was told to them at the very beginning - "we do not want erosion of the national state. We do not want non-governmental organizations to rule the world. " That is, the Saudis against globalization - American, Anglo-Saxon, Atlantic.

Against a process that is trying to promote those whom they have always considered their defenders and guarantors of their existence. Similarly, against him and Russia - so that we have a fundamental basis for joint action. And this thing is more expensive than oil, stronger C-400.

Peter Akopov
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