By: Correspondent – Citizen Awareness Program
Recently the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan visited Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation in Egypt, Syria and Iran as well as the potential for economic and security cooperation between the two countries. He assured Putin that the proposals he has to make have the full backing of the US and EU. Although the meeting was supposed to be secret, its proceedings were soon leaked to the Russian press before the pro-Syrian Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir released more details of them.
In order to dissuade Russian support for the Syrian government, Prince Bandar offered Putin enticements of strategic cooperation in the economic, investment, oil and military arenas. He lamented the increase in global terrorism due to the Arab Spring especially in #Egypt and Libya and offered Russia cooperation in ending this threat: “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the [Russian] city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”
The Russian president was unmoved: “We know that you have supported the Chechen terrorist groups for a decade. And that support, which you have frankly talked about just now, is completely incompatible with the common objectives of fighting global terrorism that you mentioned. We are interested in developing friendly relations according to clear and strong principles.”
Prince Bandar responded that Saudi Arabia has learned from its mistakes in Egypt and Libya and will do a better job of sponsoring terrorism in Syria, but other countries in the Syrian milieu, like Qatar and Turkey, have gone too far: “The Turks’ role today has become similar to Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war. We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region.” Putin replied that Russia will urge Turkey to change its policy on Syria especially since “Turkey will not be immune to Syria’s bloodbath. The Turks ought to be more eager to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis.” But he made it clear that that will not stop burgeoning Russo-Turkish cooperation in a number of other fields including a civil nuclear deal.
On the matter of Syria he said the Syrian government is now finished and a moderate and democratic regime will soon be installed there so there is little point in Russia continuing its support for Assad, especially since Saudi Arabia is willing to protect Russian interests in that country in return for cooperation in Regime Change in Damascus.
Putin flatly rejected Prince Bandar’s proposal: “Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters.” He also pointed out the US’ history of backing out of deals made earlier on the matter.
Prince Bandar made a very tempting offer of “a unified Russian-Saudi strategy” in the oil sector in return for Russia’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia on the matter of Syria, an offer that could change the face of the world’s geopolitics. Putin’s only response was that the offer must be studied by both countries’ relevant ministries.
He also urged Putin to keep supporting the Egyptian army and interim government instead of toeing the West’s line of supporting the Egyptian people’s democratic aspirations against the tyrannical actions of the army; he even offered arms deals with Russia in exchange for Russian support for the Egyptian army. Putin replied that Russia is very concerned about Egypt especially since the situation there may slide into a civil war devastating Egypt, the Arabs and the international community.
Regarding Iran, Saudi Arabia urged Russia to adopt a pro-Arab stance instead of supporting Iran and its nuclear program. Putin rejected that appeal too, saying Russian support for Iran’s civil nuclear program will continue and it will strongly oppose any further sanctions on Iran.
Ultimately the meeting, after seeing an exchange of warnings and threats, concluded with agreement only on continuing bilateral dialogue.
Here is the detail of this eye-opening disclosure:
Here is the original Arabic-language disclosure made by al-Safir: http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=2543&articleId=1693&ChannelId=61387