Reasons why Russia won’t sell Syria to Saudi Arabia

Alwaght- Russians have long been trying to identify their own real interests and act accordingly.

Therefore, with regard to current regional developments, when one of the officials of these countries, especially the Arab ones travel to Russia, there are growing speculations on possible deals between Russians and the Arab officials, especially on the issue of Syria. For example, in relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia, there were growing speculations over the petrodollars given to the Russians over the issue.

Since the day, Bandar bin Sultan was appointed as director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, he has met twice with Vladimir Putin, and they have discussed the issue. However, this was denied by the Russians.

It should be noted that such a deal in which Russia receives petrodollars from Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Syria, basically cannot happen in reality because Moscow has geopolitical interests in the country and Syria is its strategic depth. Besides, given the decline in oil prices, in this year and next year’s budgets Saudis are facing major problems.

Moreover, due to the war in Yemen, the Saudis have been dealing with serious financial constraints. Therefore, the Saudis do not have such financial support to promote the Russians’ interests in such a way.

Other likely proposed transactions is the purchase of modern and advanced weapons; however, in practice such purchases are subject to many challenges associated with such deals, because the military structure of Saudi Arabia and its  foundations are totally Western one and the Studies are not able to operate Russia made equipment.

If they were going to buy Russian weapons, they would need a lot of long-term trainings. On the other hand, the United States has been totally against losing such huge interests resulted from the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the issue is much more complex than the story in which Russia receives money or accepts any other transaction, so that Russia gives up Syria to its main enemy, i.e., the West.

More importantly, there are multiple actors in Syria, which sometimes have conflicting interests. Such a crisis cannot be resolved so easily, in a way that officials from four countries may sit at a table and resolve it. The fact is that if the Syrian crisis was supposed to be resolved, at least several other countries which are more effective in this crisis, should be present at the negotiations.

Considering the recent moves made by the United States in Iraq, it is speculated that the US and Russia have divided two countries of Iraq and Syria between themselves. Nevertheless, it appears that such a thing is not true. The Russians believe that it has been a long time that the US has resorted to the theory of “controlled chaos” or “managed instability” to provoke insurgency in some countries of the West Asia, while the target countries were coincidentally among the traditional allies of Moscow.

According to Russians’ mind the US attempts to change Russia-allied governments of or get them involved in chaos and instability. Syria is Russia’s last stronghold in the West Asia and the Mediterranean Sea; accordingly, it is quite unlikely that Russia may conclude a deal resulting in its withdrawal from Damascus. Meanwhile, Iraq is very important for the Russians, as traditionally they have had their own interests in this country since the Soviet era.

Therefore, we may conclude that the Russians are playing well with their cards in the West Asia, and both Iraq and Syria are among the playing cards of the Russian. If the Russians seek to keep Iraq in their own basket, in the future they can have a big base to protect their interests in the region and deepen their influence into the West Asia to rein countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

By Alwaght