by: Louie Syphr
Russia’s stakes in Syria is highlighted in a July 30th meeting between Vladimir Putin and Prince Bandar. A proposal to, “offer the Russian leadership political, economic, military and security enticements in return for concessions on several regional issues, in particular Syria and Iran.”
In particular, The Almonitor reported a story from leaked transcripts of the Putin and Prince Bandar meeting. The deal for Russia, oil and gas if they pull out of Syria.
“Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets. … We understand Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas present in the Mediterranean Sea from Israel to Cyprus through Lebanon and Syria. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area as well as in the areas of establishing refineries and petrochemical industries. The kingdom can provide large multi-billion-dollar investments in various fields in the Russian market. What’s important is to conclude political understandings on a number of issues, particularly Syria and Iran.”
The Prince then goes on to say:
“The Syrian regime is finished as far as we and the majority of the Syrian people are concerned. [The Syrian people] will not allow President Bashar al-Assad to remain at the helm. The key to the relations between our two countries starts by understanding our approach to the Syrian issue. So you have to stop giving [the Syrian regime] political support, especially at the UN Security Council, as well as military and economic support. And we guarantee you that Russia’s interests in Syria and on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected one bit. In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia’s interests and role in the region.”
Putin responded, “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. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I.”
The Lebanese newspaper, As-Safir, alleges that Prince Bandar told Putin during the meeting, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”
The actual quote was, “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.”
What we do know is Saudi Arabia holds cards that Russia wants. We also know from transcripts that Saudi has supported the Chenyan groups that have targeted Russia for some time.
An attack on Saudi Arabia by the Russians would not be surprising considering their geo-political relations, nor competitive struggle for oil and gas.
This meeting also sheds light on what the “Syrian Problem” is really about, “interest in the oil and gas present in the Mediterranean Sea from Israel to Cyprus through Lebanon and Syria. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe.” As stated by Prince Bandar