Would Saudi Arabia strike Russia in Syria?

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Translated by Sufyan Jan for Fort Russ
16th February, 2016


By Abdulallah Al-Mufleh

*The following is a glimpse into the Saudi mind, and what they think they are capable of in the Middle East*

When we compare the military might of Saudi forces compared to Russian forces then the answer is a “Deafening No”, nay the question becomes quite comical.

So, why then is Russia and Iran asking for a deescalation in Syria and agreeing to a ceasefire, and why has Iran attempted to contact the Saudis six times, without any response. 

You will find the answer to this question at the end of the article.

Let us first recall that military might is not a guaranteer of success, what happened to the Americans in Iraq and Vietnam, and to the Soviets in Afghanistan, not withstanding our Arab/Islamic history that is full of instances of shocking military victories over the infidels, despite being disadvantaged, whether it’s a numerical or technological disadvantage.

Military might is one factor that can determine the course of a battle, but their are many other factors at play, that if pit together the weaker side can achieve victory.

Lets not compare Saudi forces to its Russian counterpart, rather let us look at other cultural/diplomatic avenues or perhaps covert operations that Saudi Arabia can employ to deal Russia a significant blow.

Let us begin with the legitimacy of Saudi’s intervention in Syria as opposed to Russia’s.

With what right does Russia occupy an Arab/Islamic nation and then go on to kill its people using aerial bombardment, that Saudi Arabia which is an influential Arab/Islamic nation doesn’t.

One might object and say: Russia were invited into Syria by its internationally recognized president.

We respond in saying that this president has lost all manner of legitimacy after killing 450,000 of his people, everybody recognizes this, note that here we are not speaking of official international legitimacy-while its important-rather on a legitimacy that is based in our sense of humanity.

Others could object by saying: that Russia has come to fight against Daesh. It has come apparent this claim is an exposed lie, we need only look at who the Russians are bombing, they are bombing civilians and moderate opposition forces.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey will fight against Daesh under the umbrella of the US led coalition, or the Islamic coalition, which is more legitimate than Russia’s led alliance.

Now that we have established Saudi Arabia’s legitimate right to intervene in Syria which is an Arab/Islamic nation more than Russia. This rationale is even accepted in the UN, which recognizes the US led coalition’s fight against Daesh, more to the point is that the Islamic alliance is recognized in both the Arab League and OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), let us not forget that a scores of muslim countries are members of the Islamic coalition.

Let us come to another aspect in which Saudi Arabia is ahead of Russia. OIL. Russia is going through financial strains with the decline of oil prices, because it depends largely on oil revenues. This doesn’t mean to say the Saudi Arabia is not going through a difficult economic situation, but it’s incomparable to what Russia is going through, these economic difficulties are beginning to shape in the form of a public outrage against the authorities.

Lets picture this: Russia is engaged militarily in Ukraine and Syria, the West is enforcing economic sanctions, Russia’s only route for transporting its natural gas is Turkey, its economy is doing badly, does a rational state that is going through all the above risk an all out war with the Arabs and muslims, unless its led by a madman.

One might say: Putin is mad and obsessed, and he may do it. I would reply: Why then is he seeking to deescalate?, Putin is reckless and reactionary, but he is not mad, he wouldn’t want to be hung in the red square at the heart of Moscow.

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We come to the final trumping card, which is the most important, which is what the Saudi’s are challenging even the US with: The “religious and spiritual” status Saudi Arabia holds in the hearts of Arabs and Muslims.

Saudi Arabia was shroud in choosing “ Islamic Alliance” as the name of its coalition, its one where Daesh are no longer recognized as Islamic, and it shows the determination muslims have to fight back, also any attack on this coalition force will look as if the entire muslim nation (Ummah) has been attacked.

If Putin were to go mad and target these forces, he would be declaring war on all muslims, and it is a war the Russians fear most, many of the republics that are part of the Russian federation are muslim, and they are waiting to catch Moscow off guard and secede , add to that the Turko-Islamic influence on these republics, which is a spiritual and historic bond.

You may imagine the following which is not unlikely: 

The Mufti’s of all Muslim and Arab countries, the Imam of the Meccan mosque, along with the Medina mosque, and the Imam of Al-Aqsa mosque declaring an all out war with Russia, declaring it to be an aggressor, this would enable muslims to strike against Russian interests around the world.

A very dangerous scene isn’t it?

Even though for Saudi Arabia this is not an option yet, but it could if the situation prolongs.

Saudi Arabia has been for a long time on the sidelines, not interfering in other countries, nor wishing anyone to interfere in theirs. But this was understood by the Iranians and their dogs from Arab Shi’a militia, and from the Russians as a sign of weakness,cowardice, or hesitation perhaps they may have thought that Saudi Arabia was out of sink with reality.

Today Saudi Arabia is changing and repairing the damage. It has shown its teeth, this time to declare that the tiger is not smiling.

What was discussed above was a show of hand of what Saudi Arabia can do against Russia.

To summarize: Saudi has real legitimacy to intervene in Syria which is both an Arab and Islamic nation, Saudi is also still economically stable, and it occupies a religious and spiritual place in the heart of all muslims.

Now let us asses Turkey and its role in this conflict, and how Saudi and Turkey can work side by side.

Turkish shelling on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, has set the stage for Turkey to distance itself from the US, the US supports the Kurds, it wants them to advance so that the Kurds hold Turkey hostage, but Turkey has had enough and said No to this American plot.

America is the one who wants to divide the Arab world and not the arab spring or some other entity. The US supports all minorities, and this is no longer a secret. And it uses what Daesh inflict upon minorities, to support those minorities against the majority which is Sunni, under the slogan of a war against Daesh. This american ploy has been exposed.

Saudi and Turkey care less about what the US wants, this is a healthy phenomenon, they have waited for too long, and it is high time for them to secure their mutual interests, which seems to contradict the American’s grand plan for a divided middle east.

The battle in Syria today is an existential fight for Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The defeat of the rebels in Syria means Iranian hegemony in Iraq and Syria, it also means that Russia will become the new world hegemony.

We are confronted with a new reality, a new Saudi Arabia, a rising star that claims its rights and doesn’t wait for charities either from regional allies or super powers, when it comes to Saudi strategic interests it will interfere in other countries and safe guard its interests.

This is the answer to the question posed above about Russia’s and Iran’s enthusiasm for a sudden ceasefire, and to deescalate the crisis.

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