Original published by tvc.ru; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Prince Mukhammad ibn Salman, Saudi Arabia’s minister of defense, has just finished his visit to Moscow. He met with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. Their discussions concerned the situation in Syria. The prince once again confirmed Riyadh will continue to support Syria’s opposition. Moscow, in turn, warned that arming the islamists wold be unacceptable, according to Igor Korotchenko, an expert on military issues.
Igor Korotchenko, the chief director of the National Defense journal discussed the situation in Syria and in the Middle East with the TV Tsentr anchor Aleksey Frolov.
–Saudi Arabia is mainly worried that Iran is becoming stronger. The two countries traditionally view one another as competitors over influence over the region. The Saudis are seriously concerned about the consequences of Russia’s intervention in the region–will it lead to the strengthening of Hezbollah, Iran, the Revolutionary Guard Corps both in Syria and in the Middle East as a whole. My understanding is that the Saudis were provided certain information during the discussions which alleviated their concerns that someone is trying to undermine the Saudi position int he region. I think that the Saudis now have a better understanding of our goals in the region and how we will go about achieving them.
It was also very important for Russia to make it clear that no form of support for the Islamic State can be considered legitimate. There also exists a definite red line, which is supplying the islamists weapons, especially man-portable SAMs. Now the Saudis understand it’s unacceptable. Given the Saudi influence and weight in the region, they will use their channels to ensure that doesn’t happen since it would mean the escalation of conflict.
–Nobody knows what the Free Syrian Army looks like or where it is located. If it exists, let it reveal itself so that we can enter into contact with it. Naturally, we are not going to bomb them if we know it’s the FSA, but it’s not enough for them to simply control their regions, they also must start offensive operations against IS. Then we’ll know that it’s really the FSA and not someone pretending. So far the FSA so far has not made a reputation for itself as an organized force. Right now we are fighting against purely theoretical organizations which are clearly defined as international terrorists.
The main reason the Western coalition had failed is, first of all, the lack of dependable intelligence information, and secondly the absence of coordination with ground operations. Every target we strike is surveilled by satellites, confirmed by the Syrian General Staff, then finally classified as a target using our UAVs, before deciding to launch a precision strike.