The Saudi Ambassador to Russia gave an exclusive interview to Sputnik where he revealed that the two Great Powers are working more closely together in Syria than had previously been acknowledged.
Up until this point, it was recognized that there were political contacts between the two sides over observing the Astana ceasefires and other technical topics, but this is the first time that it was publicly confirmed that Saudi Arabia solidly stands behind Russia’s role in promoting a political solution to the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria and is “in consultations and coordination sometimes with [it] regarding the ways to move this process ahead in the near future.” Furthermore, the Ambassador stressed the following:
“In the principal, our objectives are the same. We respect the independence, the unity and sovereignty of Syria. We want Syria for all Syrians on the equal basis regardless of their sector ethnicity or religious affiliation. We want Syria that is stable, secure and prosperous and we want Syria that is free from terrorist groups and sectarian militias and foreign troops.”
This strongly implies that some of the “consultations and coordination” between Russia and Saudi Arabia might have involved their “same objectives” of a “Syria that is free from…foreign troops”, like President Putin announced was his country’s assumption of the Arab Republic’s future while standing alongside President Assad during their Sochi Summit earlier this month. There are undoubtedly many, especially in the Alt-Media Community and under the influence over its prevailing dogma, who can’t believe that Russia would work so closely with the same Kingdom that’s largely responsible for most of Syria’s destruction, just like they can’t believe that it’s doing the same with “Israel” either, but those people are clearly unaware of or have purposely ignored the fast-moving an d full-spectrum Russian-Saudi rapprochement.
Moscow’s Rapprochement With Riyadh
To summarize what’s been happening between the two Great Powers over the past year or so, they’ve entered into the globally impactful OPEC+ deal with one another in stabilizing oil prices and Riyadh is even allowing Russian companies to bid to construct its 16 planned nuclear reactors, 15 more than Moscow has built in neighboring Iran. On top of that, the two parties are discussing exports of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile defense system and already agreed upon the sale of other weapons during the King’s visit to Moscow in October that include “Kornet-EM anti-tank missile systems, TOS-1A “Buratino” heavy flame systems, AGS-30 grenade launchers and Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles”. Unsurprisingly, the Ambassador confirmed in his interview that Russian state arms company Rostec has opened up an office in his country.
Taking the military dimensions of their relationship even further, he told Sputnik that
“(Saudi) officers [will] be trained and schooled in Russian military academies for the first time” and that “almost 200 Saudi military personnel (are) studying in various cities in Russia.”
Most observers could never have expected anything of the sort to happen, but this just speaks to the sincerity with which the Russian-Saudi rapprochement is developing in the sense that both sides trust one another enough to enter into long-term military training agreements of that sort. Moving beyond the energy and military aspects of their newfound partnership, Russia and Saudi Arabia are investing billions in one another’s economies, as was discussed in the interview, and relatedly, a representative of Russian Railways recently said that his company wants to participate in the construction of the Trans-Arabian Railway.
Explaining The Seemingly Unexplainable
Altogether, the multifaceted rapprochement between these two traditionally antagonistic Great Powers is proceeding quite smoothly, hence the naturalness with which it’s moved to Syria in seeing them engage in “consultations and coordination” with one another related to their shared political objectives, which most likely relates to the unofficial components of President Putin’s peace plan that specifically depends on Iran’s presumed “phased withdrawal” from the Arab Republic. To explain why all of this is happening in the first place and understand what’s behind Russia’s outreaches to Saudi Arabia, it’s necessary to remember that Moscow envisions its 21st-century role as being the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia, to which end it’s pursuing a slew of non-traditional partnerships with countries whom it previously had problems with such as Turkey and Pakistan.
This grand strategy aims to provide Russia with a neutral but strategic stake in regional affairs all across the hemisphere that could then be leveraged to allow it to mediate between rival countries and reap the resultant economic benefits from both parties as a result. In this instance, Russia wants to “balance” Saudi Arabia and Iran in order to manage the American-exacerbated and Hybrid War-weaponized “Sunni-Shiite split” as a means of stabilizing the Greater Mideast, with the first step in this direction being Moscow’s “consultations and coordination” with Riyadh over President Putin’s peace plan for Syria. Specifically, while it can’t be known for sure, it can be strongly speculated that this involves some degree or another of talks over the future of what Russia recognizes as the “armed opposition” in southern Syria.
The Art Of “Balancing”
This terminology is being used because Russia doesn’t deal with terrorists but has conducted “de-escalation” agreements with a variety of what it considers to be “armed opposition” groups, including those abutting the “Israeli”-occupied Golan Heights. Saudi Arabia is known for its patronage of all sorts of militant actors in Syria so it can safely be assumed that may have had a say in the Russian-“Israeli” deal that Foreign Minister Lavrov publicly confirmed earlier this week in stipulating that “non-Syrian forces” (which is a euphemism for Iran and Hezbollah) won’t be used in the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) forthcoming liberation campaign in the area and “should [be withdrawn] as soon as possible”. Without the agreement of these groups’ two main “Israeli” and Saudi sponsors, the SAA might encounter such heavy resistance that its mission could fail.
It’s an open secret that Saudi Arabia and “Israel” are not only allies with one another, but consecrated this relationship through coordinating the Hybrid War of Terror on Syria, so it makes sense that Russia would seek to “de-escalate” the conflict right at its source by engaging in a series of “compromises” with these two. In exchange for Russia passively facilitating countless “Israeli” strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah positions in the Arab Republic, as well as recently agreeing that neither of those two ground forces should come anywhere near the frontier with the occupied Golan Heights, “Israeli” and Saudi Arabia will implicitly agree to de-facto “recognize” President Assad and downscale their destabilizing activities against his country, which is similar in a sense to the rumored deal that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman purportedly tried to strike with Damascus.
Looking at the bigger picture, Russia’s “consultations and coordination” with Saudi Arabia in Syria are the latest step in the two sides’ fast-moving and full-spectrum rapprochement with one another and are designed to advance President Putin’s peace plan by managing the reciprocal “withdrawal” (or at the very least, “secretly promised downscaling”) of Riyadh-backed “armed opposition” forces from areas where its Iranian rival also agrees to leave. This sensitive quid pro quo could never be agreed to by either Great Power directly but required the “balancing” prowess of Russia as the geopolitical broker between them in order to pull it off. Through a series of very delicate moves that would undoubtedly be denied by both Mideast heavyweights if they were ever pressed to comment upon them in public, Moscow is therefore bringing peace to the embattled Arab Republic through its policy of mediating “mutual compromises” between them while simultaneously strengthening its strategic relations with the Wahhabi Kingdom as a result.
This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.