Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled to visit Russia by the end of this year, an indication that the relations between the countries are improving drastically.
The Saudi Arabian Monarch is expected to convince Moscow to help end the crisis in the Middle East and give up its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, according to Efim Rezvan, a well-known Arabist professor and scholar in Islamic studies during an interview with Pravda.ru.
Iran nuclear deal pushed Saudi Arabia to reach out to Russia
Professor Rezvan explained that Saudi Arabia is trying to improve its relations with Russia because of the current developments happening in the Middle East. He added that the Iran nuclear deal pushed the Saudis to reach out to Russia because they felt that the United States let them down despite being partners for many years.
“The Americans really never pull all the eggs in one basket and their ”divide and rule” strategy has always been known. The Saudis try to behave themselves the same way. They have been putting all the eggs in one basket for many years. Now they tried to play the Russian card, and there is also a Syrian aspect here,” said Professor Rezvan.
He added that Saudi Arabia is bribing Russia to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and help end the conflict in the Middle East.
Take note that Saudi Arabia recently signed a $100 billion agreement with Russia’s state-owned corporation, Rosatom to build 16 nuclear power plants to generate more than 20 thousand megawatts of electricity. The Kingdom also indicated its intention to purchase Russian tanks and Iskander-E complexes and to invest in agriculture, housing and communal services.
Russia is not yet ready to surrender Assad
According to Professor Rezvan, at present, Russia is not yet ready to surrender Assad at once and fall under an open military blackmail. He emphasized that Russian Foreign Minister offered an alternative to resolve the conflict in the Middle East.
Rezvan said Lavrov suggested to Saudi Arabia to unite all the serious parties to fight the Islamic State so that Assad’s governmental forces would join the coalition. The professor added that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lavrov pointed out that “they do not hold on to Assad.”
Most recently, six Russian MiG-31 interceptor aircraft landed in Damascus followed by giant An-124 Condor transports, which delivered 1,000 Kornet-9M133 third-generation anti-tank guided missiles to Assad’s regime. Russia demonstrated its intention to continue its support for Assad.
Lavrov recently made it clear to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair that Russia will not stand still for any changes in Assad’s position in Damascus.
When asked if he thinks the West and Saudi Arabia don’t want to fight the Islamic State since they could finish the problem by sending troops, Professor Rezvan said it is obvious that no one wants to fight the terrorist group except Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia does not want the Islamic State to expand into its sacred places. However, 80% of the Saudi population share the IS ideology and rejects the methods used to deal with military and political problems, noted Professor Rezvan.
Russia would benefit from Saudi Arabia relations
He said the Islamic State was created as a so-called Ukraine for Iran, but it also became a headache for Saudi Arabia. “The Islamic State is an adversary of the Saudi Arabia, not the US. So, we can benefit from this revival and unite with the interested parties who really want to compete with the IS,” said Professor Rezvan.
Furthermore, Professor Rezvan said Russia and Saudi Arabia are now closer partners than the United States. He said, “Being a partner of the Saudi monarchy, we can get access to its data related to the Islamic underground. It is clear that we also have our political interests. The Saudis possess resources and data, which can be of some interest to Russia. Thus, the bargaining is going on. The Saudi King visit should be a breakthrough event.”