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Putin flies over to the Arab oil sheikhs

Путин летит за нефтью к арабским шейхам

The Russian foreign Ministry is preparing a visit of Vladimir Putin to the Gulf monarchies, which in these States pre-sent Minister Sergei Lavrov. He has already managed to visit three countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

The Arabs carry everything from aircraft to missiles

Middle East tour Sergei Lavrov began on March 3 with an official visit to Qatar, where he held talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, and Secretary General of the Forum of gas exporting countries see Santorini (this organization is based in Doha, but since the inception it was headed by two Russians and one Iranian).

March 4, Lavrov was in Saudi Arabia where he was received by king Salman al Saud. The next day the foreign Minister went to Kuwait, where he was received by Emir Sabah al-Ahmed and the Prime Minister (also foreign Minister) of Sabah al-Khaled. After Lavrov departed to UAE, where he was received by crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed al Nahyan.

That is, met the Russian Minister at the highest level, because the weight of the guest, and the topics of discussion was appropriate. According to a brief communiqué from the foreign Ministry, discussed Sergei Lavrov with foreign policy key challenges to global and middle East agenda — the civil war in Libya, Syria and Yemen, as well as the aggravation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (especially the way that Kuwait is now a non-permanent member of the UN security Council).

Perhaps the only influential Arab state of the Persian Gulf, where Lavrov was not, — the Kingdom of Bahrain. Although it is a major buyer of Russian weapons, it is ready to buy and civilian aircraft SuperJet. Responsible for building bilateral relations, the two heads of the Islamic republics of Chechnya (Ramzan Kadyrov) and Tatarstan (Rustam Minnikhanov), which last year was in Bahrain.

But, apparently, without this Arab monarchies to build Lavrov’s visit proved to be difficult: too now strained relationship between the countries of the Gulf (say, Qatar is located in the diplomatic conflict, the UAE and Saudi Arabia). Because we don’t know when and where to route the visit of Vladimir Putin, the preparation of which, no doubt, engaged Sergei Lavrov.

One of the areas of cooperation (which, however, was not advertised in the communique of the foreign Ministry) is increasing arms exports. In particular, the negotiations with Russia on the purchase of a missile defense system s-400 has long led Saudi Arabia and Qatar. If missiles will supply to the region (Turkey has already signed such a deal), it would mean the end of American monopoly on military supplies to the Middle East. Of course, it is beneficial for Russia in the military-political and geo-economic points of view.

Russia ousts USA from Arabia

What other fruits of Russia will bring the President’s visit to the Middle East, the “Free press” has asked our expert, senior researcher, Institute of Oriental studies of the Mikhail Roshchin.

“SP”: — Mikhail, why Putin zasobiralis in the Gulf States right now?

— The United States has long played a mediating role in the middle East. They helped to negotiate Egypt and Israel to sign the camp David peace Treaty, but later, beginning with George Bush’s American middle East policy is gradually disintegrated, and the authority of the Americans as good mediators have been lost. This was particularly noticeable during the presidency of Barack Obama, who in principle was not a single successful foreign policy initiatives.

All this and opened the door to Russia for new opportunities, which is especially evident as a result of effective assistance to Syria to address its military and political problems. Let us remember that this operation began on 30 September 2015, that is, in General recently. But the situation for Russia since then has changed dramatically, and our credibility in the middle East grew strongly. Good relations developed with Iran, has markedly improved relations with Turkey. Occurs constructive engagement with Israel. All this has led to the fact that we began to look closely at many Arab States, including the rich Arabian monarchy.

“SP”: — Well, what exactly Russia may get the results already accomplished tour Lavrov: new investments, strengthening of influence?

— I think the current visit of Lavrov is seen as an attempt once again to probe the situation and to identify resource opportunities for Russia.

“SP”: — Certainly, the Americans will not sit idly by, seeing the strengthening of Russian influence in the middle East. Can we assume that Putin during the visit, will face opposition from the anti-Russian forces?

— Task is to establish cooperation with the countries of the Persian Gulf is not as simple and will require on our part a serious effort. We must remember that these countries for decades are in the area of strong Western influence, and yet nothing says that the situation is in the foreseeable future will change.

At the same time we must not forget the confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, including ideological. It has not gone anywhere! It is hard to imagine that Russia could sacrifice its almost allied relations with Iran in exchange for vague until the chances of the Arabian Peninsula.

“SP”: — In the nineties, I remember, talked a lot about the attempts of the destructive influence of the Arab monarchies in the Islamic regions of Russia, primarily the North Caucasus. Now it is in the past?

— Indeed, some influence could provide Saudi Arabia through its religious schools and the organization of the red Crescent. So it was during the wars in Chechnya, but it is, you’re right, already in the distant past. Now in the North Caucasus the graduates of Islamic educational institutions in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, to put it mildly, not welcome. In Dagestan, I can say, I appreciate only those ulama who have received education on the spot.

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