[Marxism] Is Putin Really Planning To Bomb Saudi Arabia? By Mark Ames [part two]\

Shane Mage shmage at pipeline.com
Sun Sep 8 12:01:29 MDT 2013

> This brings me to the most obvious question: Why would Putin bomb  
> Saudi Arabia? And a more serious question: What makes that rumor  
> even remotely credible, bizarre as that may sound?
> The answer involves a little-reported meeting between Putin and  
> Saudi Arabia’s powerful intelligence chief, Prince Bandar, on July  
> 31 of this year. The Saudis and Bandar are the main backers of the  
> Syrian opposition forces fighting against Bashir al-Assad’s army.  
> The Saudis back the whole range of opposition forces, including the  
> Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra jihadis, who are among the best fighters —  
> maybe the opposition's only real fighters. Putin and Russia are the  
> biggest backers of Assad’s regime. So Prince Bandar came to Moscow  
> on July 31 to try to hammer out a deal, but the details of that  
> meeting remained a tightly held secret until a week later, when a  
> story broke in Reuters claiming that Bandar had offered Russia huge  
> incentives to pull support for Assad and allow the opposition forces  
> to take over.
> The Reuters story was based on leaks from Gulf (read: Saudi)  
> sources, and confirmed by "Western diplomats," who painted the Saudi  
> offer in glowing terms:
> "Exclusive: Saudi offers Russia deal to scale back Assad support –  
> sources
> "(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has offered Russia economic incentives  
> including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian  
> gas sales if Moscow scales back support for Syrian President Bashar  
> al-Assad, Middle East sources and Western diplomats said on Wednesday.
> "The proposed deal between two of the leading power brokers in  
> Syria's devastating civil war was set out by Saudi intelligence  
> chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President  
> Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, they said.
> "Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar  
> offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as  
> ensuring that Gulf gas would not threaten Russia's position as a  
> main gas supplier to Europe.
> "In return, Saudi Arabia wanted Moscow to ease its strong support of  
> Assad and agree not to block any future Security Council Resolution  
> on Syria, they said.
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> The Russians remained quiet; the Kremlin issued a "no comment."
> Over the next couple of days, more details came out from Gulf  
> leakers painting the Saudi offer as "bold," as the Times (UK) put it.
> After a few days of silence, the Kremlin issued a terse response  
> that no deal had been agreed to. A couple of weeks after that,  
> towards the end of August, more details about the Putin-Bandar  
> meeting emerged that explained the Russians’ behavior: According to  
> these later accounts, Prince Bandar’s "carrots" came with some  
> implicit-explicit threats. He promised that a Sunni-led Syrian  
> government would not allow the jihadi radicals into power, and he  
> reportedly also promised that Saudi Arabia would make sure that the  
> Chechen and North Caucasus jihadis currently fighting in Syria with  
> the Al Qaeda-linked outfit al-Nusra would not return to Russia after  
> the war’s end. Bandar went further, reportedly promising that the  
> Saudis would use their influence (financial and otherwise) over  
> radical Islamic fighters in Chechnya, Dagestan and other Russian  
> regions to make sure no terrorist attacks would ruin the 2014 Sochi  
> Olympics.
> According to these later reports, Prince Bandar’s implicit threat —  
> that if Russia did not agree to abandon Assad, Chechen radicals  
> would create problems in next year’s Olympics — was not lost on  
> Putin. Here’s how the meeting was reported in Lebanon’s Al-Monitor,  
> which claimed to have had access to leaked transcripts from the  
> secret Putin-Bandar meeting. Al-Monitor quotes Prince Bandar telling  
> Putin,
> "I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the  
> 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."
> That’s a shocking and rather aggressive admission on the part of the  
> Saudis, if it’s true that Bandar said that to Putin. It’s not a big  
> secret — I’ve written about Saudi and Gulf funding for Chechen  
> radicals and Dagestani jihadis, funding and support that stretches  
> back to the early-mid 1990s. But coming directly from Bandar’s mouth  
> like that, it would be more of a threat than a concession or  
> admission.
> The Al-Monitor article reports Putin’s immediate reaction:
> "Putin thanked King Abdullah for his greetings and Bandar for his  
> exposition, but then he said to Bandar, ‘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.’"
> It was in the aftermath of these leaked reports that new rumors  
> sprouted up last week alleging that Putin was so outraged over  
> Prince Bandar’s threat-by-admission that he ordered the Russian  
> military to draw up plans to strike Saudi Arabia in response to a  
> Saudi-influenced US military strike on Syria.
> With that context in mind, the rumor doesn’t seem so completely wild  
> after all, even though I still don’t buy it.For one thing, just as  
> Russia would’ve been willing to go nuclear over South Ossetia, I’m  
> pretty sure the US would be willing to send everyone to Hell, us  
> included, to protect the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. Even that  
> pacifist Jimmy Carter established the “Carter Doctrine” promising  
> the End Times to any outsiders who mess with the Gulf sheikhs.
> But then again, you wouldn’t have convinced me in 2008 that Cheney  
> proposed bombing Russia over Georgia, even knowing how crazy Cheney  
> was. Wars have a weird way of bringing out the crazy in crazies.
> today.
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