Russian President Vladimir Putin might not be enjoying a very good reputation worldwide, but one should admit that he is a sharp-minded politician! Some may consider his sharpness as adroit, while others may like to use the term opportunist… the fact is: Putin knows how to create opportunities! He has another quality, as the Russian strongman carries out important political activities in a silent manner. Unlike his US counterpart Donald Trump, President Putin doesn’t talk much about his plans…
Therefore, one can assume that Putin has a ‘Big Plan’ for West Asia, as he visited the troubled region immediately after the Turkish Forces launched attacks on the Kurds in northern Syria! The Russian leader is aware of the fact that it would not be possible for the US to jump into action in the Middle East, as the Trump Administration is facing a number of domestic issues. It is also flagrant that President Trump is less interested in West Asian Politics and Diplomacy. Some US think-tanks have already discussed how US influence is diminishing rapidly in West Asia. In fact, Trump’s ‘populist politics’ has prompted him to reduce the US’ involvement in West Asia!
Putin in Saudi Arabia
President Putin, seemingly, has taken this opportunity, and has visited Saudi Arabia in order to strengthen ties with Riyadh! For so many years, the US has been maintaining cordial ties with Saudi. However, President Trump’s foreign policy has changed the geo-political equation especially in West Asia! Moscow, too, has made some changes in its policy towards the region. Apart from Saudi Arabia, Russia is also trying to bolster ties with other Middle Eastern countries in an attempt to increase its influence there.
It is to be noted that apart from the US, another power is very much active in the region: Iran! Iran – the arch rival of Saudi Arabia and an ‘Evil Axis’ (as claimed by the US) – has been jointly working with Russia in Syria for the last few years! Moscow and Tehran have always backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Government. Now, the changing equation (Moscow’s friendship with Riyadh) could affect the Russia-Iran relation. In that case, some other countries, like Jordan and Lebanon, may also leave the Russian camp. So, the Russian president’s move could abruptly change the diplomatic equilibrium in West Asia…
Putin with Iranian President Rouhani
Crude Oil is at the centre of Russia’s renewed co-operation with Saudi Arabia! Now, ‘OPEC+’ is the accepted nomenclature of the cobbled-together club of oil producers that has been trying to bolster prices since late 2016. The concept of OPEC+ has brought Moscow closer to Riyadh. The main purpose of President Putin’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia was to discuss about the future of petroleum market. To convince the Saudi leadership, the Russian President promised to supply arms to Riyadh. Putin knows that Saudi Arabia needs advanced weapons to counter Iran, militarily.
So, one can easily understand how Tehran consider this ‘deal’. The US’ decision to distance itself from West Asia allows other powers to play a decisive role. And, it has become clear to the Global Community what is going to happen in the region. The Russia-Saudi Friendship may create troubles for many…
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