Why Saudi Arabia has turned towards Russia

Why Saudi Arabia has turned towards Russia

IRAN - Heading a high-ranking delegation Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is on an official trip to Moscow. There are different speculations about the timing and reasons behind the visit. To discuss issues involved, Press TV has interviewed Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of theduran.com from London, and Nabil Mikhail, a professor at the George Washington University.

Mercouris said the Saudi kingdom is facing difficulties in economic and political arenas, which have pushed Riyadh to ask Russia’s assistance in dealing with their woes.

“Saudi Arabia needs Russia to help stabilize the oil market ... Saudi Arabia cannot ride out the low oil price to the extent that many people thought it could,” the analyst said on Thursday night.

“Saudi Arabia needs to start rethinking its foreign policy and looking for friends and looking for people they can talk to and Russia is one of those countries,” he said.

According to Mercouris, Russia “is able to help the Saudis on questions like oil, like Syria, like future relations with the other countries in the region with which Saudi Arabia has so many difficulties.”  

The Saudi King’s four-day trip marks a huge turnaround in ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia, two countries that have repeatedly come at odds over the conflict in Syria.

The commentator further pointed out to Russia’s willingness to establish contacts with all sides in the Middle East in order to find solutions for regional problems.

“They (Russians) always work to the extent that they can to preserve regional stability, which they also see in their interests” by keeping dialogue going and by talking to every player in the region, he explained.

Mikhail, the other guest on the show, said King Salman has made a visit to Moscow, because the king knows Russia is becoming both a regional and global power.

He also referred to the Saudi Arabia’ rapprochement with Russia, saying nearly 10 months after a change of administration in the United States, “the damage the Obama administration has done to the Middle East still looms large in the minds of many Arabs and many Muslims.”

Russian authorities, the academic said, are trying to show “a new opening” in dealing with the Middle East developments. 

Moscow attempts to “harmonize and approximate the differences among many factors and players;” so, “more and more Russia is being trusted more than America,” he noted