Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Middle East: Russia Will Benefit From Frosty US-Saudi Arabia Relations

© 2013 Geopolitical Information Service

Saudi Arabia has been a staunch ally of the US for over 50 years. However, this relationship is now threatened by recent events, including the ongoing US nuclear talks with Iran. Russia is likely to seize this opportunity to demonstrate it is the new strong player in the region.

'The Saudis are highly irritated, as well as concerned, by the secret talks with Iran over nuclear weapons,' writes Middle East expert Dr Samir Nassif in World Review. 'They fear that if Iran perceives a green light from its new US friend, it could ignite a spark which could lead to a cataclysm,' says Dr Nassif.

The Russians were approached by the Egyptians in October 2013 to supply SS-25 ballistic missiles a range of 3,2,00 km (2,000 miles) and capable of reaching Iran.

'It is, apparently, the Saudis who encouraged Egypt to bid for Russian armaments rather than from its traditional arms supplier the US,' he says. This is seen as a further blow to US policy.

Russian culture is seen as closer to that of the Middle East, and is consequently more understanding, he adds.

'The fact that the Russians are seen protecting the Syrian regime with total support through thick and thin, is paradoxically seen as a loyalty value which is rarely reflected in US policy. Furthermore the Russians do not mind supporting authoritarian regimes which suits the Arabs.'

Russian President Vladimir Putin is aiming to create an anti-American front to recover Russia's international stature.

'We may witness several deals and agreements in the very near future between Russia and Egypt, sponsored by Saudi Arabia,' says Dr Nassif.