Saudis want Russia to stop supporting Assad regime

M Ali Khan

Minister (2k+ posts)

RIYADH, Aug 7: Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow scales back support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle East sources and western diplomats said on Wednesday.

The proposed deal between two of the leading power brokers in Syrias devastating civil war was set out by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, they said.

Russia has supported Assad with arms and diplomatic cover throughout the war and any change in Moscows stance would remove a major obstacle to action on Syria by the United Nations Security Council.

Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Gulf gas would not threaten Russias position as a main gas supplier to Europe.

In return, Saudi Arabia wanted Moscow to ease its strong support of Assad and agree not to block any future Security Council Resolution on Syria, they said.

A Gulf source confirmed that Prince Bandar offered to buy large quantities of arms from Russia, but that no cash amount was specified in the talks.

A Lebanese politician close to Saudi Arabia said the meeting between Bandar and Putin lasted four hours.Reuters

M Ali Khan

Minister (2k+ posts)
[h=1]Saudi Arabia's Dark Role in the Syria Conflict[/h]
Saudi Arabia responded to uprisings in Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia in a manner that clearly established the Saudi government as a counter-revolutionary actor in the Arab Awakening. However, by providing vast financial aid and weapons to anti-Assad militants, it has sided with forces promoting regime change. Saudi Arabia's role in the Syria conflict is driven by several regional and domestic objectives -- from destroying the Syria-Iran alliance to distracting the Saudi population from domestic problems to a desire to ensure that the Afghanistan experience of the 1980s is not replicated in the Levant.

Under Hafez Assad's leadership (1970-2000), a balanced alliance between Iran and Saudi Arabia was a pillar of Syrian foreign policy, given his desire to counter Israel's strength and spread Syrian influence throughout the region. The U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline deepened Syrian-Iranian ties, and prompted a deterioration of Syrian-Saudi relations. When Bashar Assad called King Abdullah a "half man" for Riyadh's inaction during the 2006 war, tension between the two heads of state evolved into personal hatred.

As the Syrian regime is Iran's closest Arab state ally, the Saudis view regime change in Syria as an opportunity to deal a major blow to Iran, its Shia allies in Iraq and Lebanon, and Shia elements in the Kingdom opposed to Wahhabi rule. Given that 74 percent of Syrians practice Sunni Islam, the Saudi government would like to use its religious authority and economic resources to acquire influence over a post-Assad order -- at Tehran and Hezbollah's expense.

Saudi clerics have relied on the Middle East's explosive sectarian divisions to motivate Saudi youth to travel to Syria and wage jihad against the Shia/Alawite political order, but as many Syrians (both pro and anti-Assad) are secularists who practice a moderate form of Islam, the widespread rejection of Wahhabism in Syria undermines Riyadh's soft-power there. Despite providing jihadists with weaponry and money, King Abdullah fears blowback from the "holy war" against the Assad regime.

Saudi Arabia financed and armed mujahedeen fighters who resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and shortly after the war many jihadists turned their guns on the Saudi government. Riyadh continues to view Al Qaeda and its affiliates as a threat to the ruling family's Islamic legitimacy. Additionally, the Turkish/Qatari-backed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is not supported by the House of Saud for a host of reasons, rooted in historical tension between the Brotherhood and the Kingdom. By the same token, although the Saudi regime seeks the overthrow of Assad, it will not back any faction in Syria simply by virtue of a common political objective.

To diminish the prospect of specific Islamist extremists gaining power in Syria, the King has sought to regulate the flow of arms from Saudi Arabia into Syria. While recent developments indicate that Riyadh-backed rebels have acquired an upper-hand over Ankara and Doha's proxies, the Syrian opposition's evolving and disparate nature suggests that this may prove temporary. Given that the Saudi government has no means or inclination to intervene militarily in Syria, Riyadh's capacity to ensure that Saudi money ends up in the hands of intended recipients is limited, particularly given that wealthy Saudis have provided funding to the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al-Nusra.

If extremist organizations ultimately overthrow the Ba'athist order, there is every reason to expect Salafist militants to bring their battle to Jordan, in addition to Lebanon and Iraq. As a close Saudi ally and key linchpin of the U.S./Israel/Saudi Arabia axis, the future of the Hashemite kingdom is a central consideration for the Saudi authorities.

Assad's regime has proven surprisingly resilient. Earlier this week, the regime scored a decisive victory over the once rebel-held southwestern city of Qusayr (a vital corridor to Lebanon of immense strategic value), which underscored the Syrian military's strength and the influence of Hezbollah inside Syria. This development should moderate the expectations of Assad's enemies that the regime will soon relinquish power. The Ba'athist propaganda machine has benefited from the Wahhabi states -- Saudi Arabia and Qatar - which have aggressively backed Syrian and non-Syrian Islamist rebels alike. By stoking fears among Syria's religious minorities and secular Sunnis about their potential slaughter if the Assad regime falls to extremists, the regime has consolidated support from religious minorities, and many secular Sunnis.

As Israel remains concerned about the implications of spillover from Syria -- which could potentially include the transfer of weapons of mass destruction into the hands of Hezbollah -- we expect Israel to continue to engage in targeted strikes on Syrian targets as deemed necessary. The attacks offer Assad the opportunity to continue playing a nationalist card by invoking the perennial Arab-Israeli conflict, which naturally elicits powerful emotions among Syrians. But Syrians have greater concerns on their minds today -- such as survival.

While the Saudis are delighted to see Iran's top ally facing a potentially existential threat, Riyadh would be wise to recognize that Iran's loss might not necessarily advance the Saudis' longer term interests in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's dream would be for the Syrian conflict to evolve into a post-Saleh-like reality in Yemen, with a new pro-Riyadh leadership emerging. Their nightmare, and that of many others in the region, is that it turns into a Taliban-like Afghanistan. At this juncture, the latter appears more likely.

*Daniel Wagner is CEO of Country Risk Solutions, a cross-border risk advisory firm, and author of the book "Managing Country Risk". Giorgio Cafiero is a research analyst with CRS based in Washington, D.C.


Senator (1k+ posts)
ایک چیز واضح ہو گئی کہ پرنس بندر ابھی زندہ ہے -- کیونکہ کچھ عرصۂ پہلے شامی/ایرانی یہ پروپیگنڈا کرتے پاے گئے کہ شائد وہ مر چکا ہے​

M Ali Khan

Minister (2k+ posts)
[h=2]Moscow rejects Saudi offer to drop Assad for arms deal
Moscow has rejected a Saudi proposal to abandon Syria's president in return for a huge arms deal and a pledge to boost Russian influence in the Arab world, diplomats told AFP.

On July 31, President Vladimir Putin, a strong backer of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, met Saudi Arabia's influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, after which both Moscow and Riyadh kept a lid on the substance of the talks.

"Every two years, Bandar bin Sultan meets his Russian counterparts, but this time, he wanted to meet the head of state," said a European diplomat who shuttles between Beirut and Damascus.

"During the meeting at the Kremlin, the Saudi official explained to his interlocutor that Riyadh is ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region," the diplomat added.

Bandar proposed that Saudi Arabia buy $15 billion of weapons from Russia and invest "considerably in the country," the source said.

The Saudi prince also reassured Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be "completely" in the Saudis' hands and will not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports, the diplomat said.

In 2009, Assad refused to sign an agreement with Qatar for an overland pipeline running from the Gulf to Europe via Syria to protect the interests of its Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplied of natural gas.

An Arab diplomat with contacts in Moscow said: "President Putin listened politely to his interlocutor and let him know that his country would not change its strategy."

"Bandar bin Sultan then let the Russians know that the only option left in Syria was military and that they should forget about Geneva because the opposition would not attend."

Russia and the United States have been trying for months to organize an international peace conference between Assad's regime and the opposition to take place in Geneva, but so far to no avail.

Asked about the Putin-Bandar meeting, a Syrian politician said: "As was the case before with Qatar and Lavrov [in talks], Saudi Arabia thinks that politics is a simple matter of buying people or countries. It doesn't understand that Russia is a major power and that this is not how it draws up policy."

"Syria and Russia have had close ties for over half a century in all fields and it's not Saudi rials that will change this fact," he added.

The meeting between Bandar and Putin came amid tension between Moscow and Riyadh over the conflict in Syria, as Russia has accused the Saudis of "financing and arming terrorists and extremist groups" in the war which has killed more than 100,000 people since March 2011.

While there was no official reaction to the meeting, Russian experts also said Putin had apparently turned down the Saudi offer.

According to military expert Alexander Goltz from online opposition newspaper Ejednevny, "such an agreement seems extremely improbable."

"Support for Assad is a matter of principle for Vladimir Putin," he said. "Even the bait of $15 billion, a huge sum that represents two years' turnover for Rosoboronexport [Russia's arms exporting agency], will have no effect."

Independent security expert Andrei Soldatov, who runs the website said: "This disinformation is aimed more at destabilizing Assad and his entourage.

"Assad's position is growing stronger and stronger, and the Kremlin knows this. Turning against them in this situation would be very stupid ... And don't forget that in general the Saudis take years to keep their promises."


MPA (400+ posts)
Saudi Arabia offers Russia economic incentives if it cuts Syria support

Arabia offers economic incentives to Moscow if Moscow stops its support for Syria.

The totalitarian dictatorship of Saudi Arabia has offered Moscow several economic incentives, including a

major and huge arms
deal as well as guarantees about gas, in case when the Russian government decreases

its support for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the secular Syrian government in the capital,


This is not the first time that something like this is reported and one is able to read about Saudi Arabian offers

to other nations in regards to their support for Syria and the Syrian government. There were similar stories

already during the last year and even some reports about out-and-out bribes by Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar

in direction of several Syrian and Russian officials.

offer by Saudi Arabia to Russia allegedly includes, as mentioned, a major arms deal and a promise to not

further challenge the Russian gas sales if the Russian government decreases its support for Syrias President

Bashar al-Assad and his secular government in Damascus.

At least, this attempt of a bribe by Saudi Arabia in direction to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his

administration in Moscow has alleged taken place, according to several sources from the Middle East and

some statements by Western diplomats. Although it is very questionable whether such sources and Western

diplomats would be informed about such an attempt by the totalitarian dictatorship of Saudi Arabia to bribe the

Russian administration in regards to their supportive stance on Syria and the Syrian government, including

President Bashar al-Assad.

In addition, the Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have always

explained that their stance and support for Syria is not about one person or the support for President al-Assad,

because they do not really care about al-Assad. Russia supports Syria for different reasons and this is the

reason why the bribe by Bandar bin Sultan (Arabic: الأمير بندر بن سلطان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود‎), the new Director General

of the Saudi Intelligence Agency since the middle of last year, will not
work (and has not).

As stated, in case Western diplomats have heard about such attempts by the totalitarian dictatorship in (of)

Saudi Arabia in direction to Russia in terms of their stance on Syria, the Saudi dictatorship must have carried

out such attempts to bribe the Russian leadership in a very amateurish style or their circles just talk too much,

which would not really surprise. Gulf style, you know.

According to the reports about the offer by the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia to Moscow, the proposed deal and

bribe was set out by the dangerous Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russia

President Putin in the Russian capital last week. And its true,
both have met in Moscow last week. However,

other sources have explained the meeting was more about the topic how the Saudi prince Bandar can leave the

stage of the terrorist supporters without losing his face or to trigger problems for Saudi Arabia.

Of course, in a case when the Russian leadership, led by President Vladimir Putin, would give in to such

economic offers and benefits by Saudi Arabia and enjoy such a large arms deal with the totalitarian

dictatorship, some call it the House of Saud, then the situation at the UN Security Council (UNSC) would

dramatically change despite the still maintained stance by China in regards of the Syrian conflict.

However, one can be very certain about the situation that the stance of Russia in regards to the Syrian war /

conflict / crisis will not change and especially not by such an (alleged) attempt of bribe by the totalitarian

dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud.

According to sources from the external Syrian opposition, which are said to have close ties to the totalitarian

dictatorship of Saudi Arabia and what is certainly true because their new President is the Saudi slave who has

won against the Qatari slave at the last so-called presidential elections of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC),

the Saudi prince and dictator Bandar offered to buy Russian weapons and ammunition worth about $15 billion

as well as he has alleged promised that the Saudi gas and the other gas from the Gulf States (for example,

Oman is subordinated to Saudi Arabia in order to maintain a secure state in the region) would not compete with

the Russian gas supplies to Europe (Gazprom and Co.). However, Qatar is still there and sure has something to

say in such a situation, especially at the current situation of

As stated, the Saudi leadership wanted and still wants Russia to decrease and ease its support for the Syrian

government in Damascus as well as for its President, Bashar al-Assad at least, according to the sources. In

addition, Russia should agree to not block any upcoming resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council

(UNSC). And there we are. China is still here, stays calm and quiet as usual, while the Chinese are acting in the


Saudi Prince Bandar and Russian President Putin. The photo is old, but the two know each other.

China is probably the player of this scene who is maintaining a publicly Bugger me! stance in terms of the

other players (and it knows why and we know why it is able to), while it maintains the protection of a certain

level of equilibrium on the international level. In addition, one thing is certain in regards to China Syria is also a

red line and this even when one does not hear much from China.

The rumours about the attempt of Saudi Arabia to bribe Putin and the Russian leadership in terms of their

stance on Syria also say that a source from the Gulf, who is familiar with the matter, has already confirmed that

the Saudi Prince Bandar offered to buy large quantities of arms from Russia in case when Russia does not use

its veto right at the next resolution on Syria at the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Further, a Lebanese politician, alleged close to Saudi Arabia (which is already suspicious somehow, isnt it?),

has stated that the meeting between Prince Bandar and Vladimir Putin lasted about four hours and that the

Saudis at home, in their small but dangerous Gulf State, were elated about the outcome of the meeting.

The spokesman of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Dimitry Peskov, could not be reached so far. In

addition, the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia did also not respond until now. However, further alleged

diplomats in the Middle East said that the initial response by Vladimir Putin to the attempt of bribe by Saudi

Prince Bandar was inconclusive it seems the rumours are the same thing, inconclusive.

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