Original by Middle East Institute president Yevgeniy Satanovskiy published by russnov.ru; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Highly placed Saudi officials who met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi over the last weekend wanted to, first of all, test the waters, secondly, assess the seriousness of our intent, thirdly, try to buy us, fourthly, try to convince us, and fifthly, try to deceive us. I don’t think, given our current leadership, they tried to blackmail us as they did under a certain previous leader.
It’s enough to cite the example of Bandar bin Sultan, the former chief of the General Intelligence Directorate. And I don’t think they would have tried to intimidate us after what we’ve demonstrated in Syria.
Saudi Arabia is using terrorist organizations as a means of influencing the situation. They are running Al Qaeda, al-Nusra in Syria, have a relationship of some sort with Ahrar ash-Sham. Therefore they have the ability to initiate terror attacks in Russia. They’ve been fighting against us since Afghanistan. Saudis used their terrorists in the First and Second Chechen Wars, and more recently when preparing terror acts in Volgograd in an attempt to force Putin to change his position on Syria. They couldn’t reach as far as Sochi.
But now it’s a different situation. Right now they aren’t strong enough to launch a full-scale war on Russia’s territory. But they could sponsor a couple of terror acts. But that’s a job for the FSB. Whether we’ll just sit and watch it happen is another matter.
The Saudis could have been laboring under illusions only until we started working over their terrorists in Syria. The East respects only force, and Russia demonstrated it. At the moment, Yemen represents a major diversion of resources and much of the Saudi military potential, and maybe even the Saudi main command team. The Saudis have to dedicate plenty of resources to compete with Iran on all imaginable and unimaginable fronts. Do they have enough money for it all? They have to support Egypt in its struggle against pro-Qatari and pro-Turkish terrorists. They have a unity of interest with Qatar in Syria–the opposition to Assad, but even that’s only temporary. They also must fight against Qatar in Libya which they are doing with considerable tenacity. The Saudis will likewise have to dedicate major efforts to preserve themselves in Bahrain. Therefore I can’t imagine where they will get the resources to strike Central Asia. They are already mired enough in their own region so that the “Central Asian Spring” which was on their agenda will be held on a reduced scale or delayed. Although one must note the demonstration of force in the form of the capture of the border belt from Tajikistan to Turkmenistan, and the temporary capture of Kunduz.
The Saudis could launch operations in the vicinity of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kirgizia. But then what? It would only prompt these countries to turn to Russia and China for help. Turkmenistan believes in its own neutrality, but we’ll see about that.
Therefore the Saudis most likely experienced a profound and comprehensive disappointment in Sochi. There are people who cannot be intimidated or deceived. That’s why he causes such irritation. But that’s Russia president.