Analyst: Saudis Facing Serious Dilemma over Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Arabia has faced a dilemma over Syria and the recent visit to Moscow by Head of the Saudi intelligence agency was part of Riyadh's efforts to end that dilemma, a prominent international affairs analyst said today.
Speaking to Tasnim, Sa'adollah Zareie said Saudi Arabia found greater role in Syria after Turkey faced popular protests due to its meddling in Syria and Qatar's role in the crisis witnessed a decline.
“These developments pushed Saudi Arabia into a serious dilemma in its efforts to bring change in Syria, and Riyadh is now trying to push Syria to its desirable point by resorting to international forces,” Zareie said, and added that Saudi Arabia has tried to undermine Russia’s support for President Bashar al-Assad.
“Russia has always been a support of Bashar al-Assad’s government and a deal between Saudi Arabia and Moscow officials on Syria is very unlikely,” Zareie said.
Earlier, a report by RT said that Moscow has said “no” to Saudi Arabia’s alleged proposal of a rich arms deal and protection of Russia’s gas interests in the Middle East in exchange for abandoning Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The proposal of $15bln in weapons contracts was allegedly made during the July 31 meeting between Putin and influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
Neither Moscow nor Riyadh has officially commented on the agenda of the talks, but a Thursday AFP report revealed new details of the negotiations.
According to an undisclosed European diplomat, Prince Bandar proposed the deal and told Putin that "whatever regime that comes after Assad” will be "completely" in Riyadh’s hands.
The Prince reportedly stated that if the deal was accepted, Saudi Arabia would not sign any contracts damaging Russian interests by allowing the Persian Gulf countries to transport its gas across Syria to Europe.
The terms included Moscow dropping its support of President Bashar Assad, as well as not opposing any future Security Council resolutions on Syria.
"President Putin listened politely to his interlocutor and let him know that his country would not change its strategy," a separate Arab diplomat said.