Saudi Arabia dangles lucrative arms deal in front of Russia in exchange for dropping Assad – UPDATED!

My Catbird Seat August 8, 2013 6
Saudi Arabia dangles lucrative arms deal in front of Russia in exchange for dropping Assad – UPDATED!

UPDATE:  Apparently, President Putin stood up to the Saudi bribe…

Moscow rejects Saudi offer:

http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2013/08/09/225905-moscow-rejects-saudi-offer-to-drop-assad-for-arms-deal/

Also see: Putin denounces Britain’s immorality in Syria

 


Editor's note: While diplomats involved in the talks described them as “inconclusive,” one Lebanese emissary close to the delegation said its Saudi members were “elated.” They seem to be throwing everything they have at this.

"Bandar offered to intensify energy, military and economic cooperation with Moscow," a senior Syrian opposition figure told Reuters.

"Bandar sought to allay two main Russian fears: that Islamist extremists will replace Assad, and that Syria would become a conduit for Gulf, mainly Qatari, gas at the expense of Russia."

So does Bashar Al Assad still have many cards to play ?

RT

Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to buy arms worth up to $15 billion from Russia, and provided a raft of economic and political concessions to the Kremlin – all in a bid to weaken Moscow’s endorsement of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The diplomatic initiatives were anonymously voiced to Reuters by multiple Gulf state diplomats and senior leaders of the Syrian opposition, in the wake of last week’s meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi National Security Council chief Prince Bandar bin-Sultan. The Saudi politician has orchestrated his country’s foreign policy in recent months.

"Bandar offered to intensify energy, military and economic cooperation with Moscow," a senior Syrian opposition figure told Reuters.

"Bandar sought to allay two main Russian fears: that Islamist extremists will replace Assad, and that Syria would become a conduit for Gulf, mainly Qatari, gas at the expense of Russia."

The $15 billion figure was touted by a representative of the anti-Assad opposition, which Saudi Arabia has strongly backed throughout the rebellion in Syria which has lasted more than two years. Meanwhile, a Gulf source claimed that no specific figure was involved.

Moscow and Riyadh, which traditionally acquires its arms from the United States, have had a massive contract on ice since 2008. Under Saudi Arabia’s terms, Russia would supply a huge assortment of equipment, including 150 T-90 tanks and more than 100 attack helicopters.

In the past, Moscow has supplied billions of dollars worth of weapons to Assad, as well as maintained a naval base in Syria.

Together with China, it has consistently blocked UN Security Council resolutions, saying they do not place any demands on the opposition – only on Assad. 

Sources indicate that Bandar asked Putin to not oppose any future Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Bandar also reportedly assured Putin that Gulf states will not challenge Russia’s dominant position in the European gas markets, and promised him that extremist Islamic forces – which have gained prominence in the conflict – will not attempt to monopolize power in a future Syrian state.

While diplomats involved in the talks described them as “inconclusive,” one Lebanese emissary close to the delegation said its Saudi members were “elated.

A Western diplomat told Reuters that Russia’s position was more a matter of prestige and geopolitics, and that the country was unlikely to publicly back down for the sake of mere economic incentives.

There has been no comment from the Kremlin on the outcome of the visit, other than to say that the delegates discussed a “wide range of issues” with President Putin.

A long-scheduled peace conference in Geneva, proposed by Russia and the US, has been pushed back and is currently under threat of cancellation. The meeting was supposed to achieve an immediate ceasefire and govern a political transition in Syria.

The conflict has largely hinged on whether President Bashar Assad will be banned from playing any political role in post-conflict Syria – a condition the opposition has demanded before it sits down at the negotiating table.

More than 100,000 people have perished in the conflict, according to UN estimates.

Also see:

A spy who tried to scale Kremlin wall

 

C'est la vie

 

6 Comments »

  1. Sam Zatt August 9, 2013 at 12:59 am - Reply

    While Saudi Arabia wheels and deals with Putin to displace US weapons sales, Obama pouts — He will go to Summit in Moscow but will not talk to Putin 'cuz Putin is abiding by their rule of law and offering asylum to Edward Snowden.

     

    That'll show that Putin, boy o boy. 

     

    Maybe Obama will even stick his tongue out at Putin, behind his back.

     

    • Debbie
      Debbie August 9, 2013 at 1:59 am - Reply

      btw…my source informed me …

      "…part of the reason you are hearing so much from the Saudis and their allies on the Bandar trip to Moscow is this: 

       

      http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-020813.html

       
      The Russians did something unusual by "outing" Bandar's visit – these are normally visits that fly under the radar and are quite secretive. In this case, the Russians flaunted it – which made the Saudis TRY to spin it to their own advantage. Otherwise you would not have heard anything.
       

      It is just a media game the Saudis are playing now. Not a chance that Putin gave an inch on Syria."

      • Sam Zatt August 9, 2013 at 2:23 am - Reply

        that's good to know Debbie. 

        Russia got my attention when its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained to Australia's Emma Alberici that, regarding Syria,  Russia abides by the PRINCIPLE that it is not legitimate for an outside state to choose the leaders of a sovereign nation.

        Imagine that, standing on principle.

        http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3420041.htm

         

        Putin stole my heart with Blueberry Hill. 

        He's actually quite the ham, and his voice is not that bad.

  2. Kam Zarrabi August 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    As you know, in the domain of "Realpolitik" honor, dignity, integrity or the like take a back seat to "How much, where and when?"   It is only when the forces of public opinion and sentiment overpower the "politiking" of the state that the latter might have to back down.

     

    I don't think the Russian populations give a rat's ass about an Islamic state like Syria; most "White" Russians do not have a favorable view of the likes of Chechens or the Daghestanies, anyway. So it is Russia's political gamesmanship in this renewed Cold War that determines how Putin would respond to the Saudi (and, don't forget, American) horse trading offers; Russians are excellent chess players! Russia's relations with Iran are not immune to the same kinds of pressures, either.   

     

    In my opinion, both Russia and Iran are calculating that American and, by extension, Arab client states' influence in the affairs of the region will be weakening as the withdrawal of the American (and Western allies') forces inevitably commence, perhaps beginning in 2014.  And, as far as Israel is concerned, an enemy they know and have dealt with (Assad) is a much safer bet than enemies that would replace him in case he is removed from power.   

     

    Iran's own relationship with Assad is also a pragmatic, purely political arrangement. Behind the religious and humanitarian facade, there are very real and serious matters that compel the Islamic Republic to continue support for the Assad regime. Any replacement for Assad would pose as serious a challenge and threat to Iran as it would to Israel's security.

  3. shachalnur August 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    The Saudi's now joined BRICS+Israel against Rothschild/Rockefeller.

    Bandar bought lot's of weapons ,in exchange for protection and permission to stabilize Egypt.

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