2 thoughts on “King Salman goes to Moscow”

  1. It is worth noting that Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, has in a sense been preparing the way for the Saudi leadership to go to Moscow and get closer to the Russian leadership. As you may have noted, Shaikh Mohammed has met President Putin on a number of occasions in recent years, including twice in 2016 and on a visit to the Kremlin in April this year. Shaikh Mohammed was reported in the local UAE press to have told President Putin that UAE-Russian ties run very deep and that the UAE was seeking an active and constructive Russian role in establishing peace and stability in the Middle East. The UAE has long had a dialogue with Russia on regional security matters: the two sides signed a defence cooperation agreement in the mid-1990s.
    President Putin has been trying to act as a back-door route between Washington and Tehran, while Shaikh Mohammed sought as early as January this year to act as a bridge between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin, as has been described at length in the American press. Each side has its own agenda, since part of the UAE plan has been to get the Kremlin to distance itself somewhat from Tehran, and to work more closely with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in dealing with problems all across the Middle East.
    Clearly the Arab countries still regard the US as a major force in the region, but they have been increasing unsure where they stand with Presidents Obama and Trump – hence the increasing desire to draw in the Russians, who have closer links with many of the regional players than the Americans.

  2. ‘On Iran, the respected Russia analyst Chris Weafer comments that “the Kremlin provides a back channel to Tehran and that may prove critical if a resolution to the Yemen crisis is to be reached.” ‘ That “resolution” rather assumes that the Iran – Huthi relationship is as strong as the anti-Iran bloc claim. It also assumes that the withdrawal of the Sa’udi-led Coalition will lead to peace, rather than a re-alignment of factions – most notably the Huthis and Salihis – and further internecine strife.

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