Below is a translation of an article from rueconomics.ru with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
Federico Pieraccini is one of the extremely rare writers of our era to state, in February 2019, what many of us already know, namely that Israel and Saudi Arabia are the states that shape US foreign policy.
In January I listed at New Silk Strategies the agents constituting the de facto government of the US, with Israel and Saudi heading the list, and the American people were not on the list. Lincoln was wrong about the government of, by and for the people. The US was never really ruled by its people, many of whom were slaves until the 60s, and others were the indigenous people who were completely disenfranchised. But the movers and shakers within the US were big business, the bankers and elected officials who ignored the Constitution in various ways, the biggest transgressors perhaps being the lawmakers who gave the bankers all power over the monetary system in 1913, in violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Within less than 2 decades, the newly created FRB had given the nation its first Great Depression.
In his article entitled "Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order," Pieraccini, one of the rare commentators of our era, reflected my thinking, writing in February 2019 that Israel and Saudi Arabia are the states that shape US foreign policy.
“The foreign-policy decisions of Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supported by Washington for decades, for two very specific reasons: the influence of the Israel lobby in the US, and the need to ensure that Saudi Arabia and the OPEC countries sell oil in US dollars, thereby preserving the role of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.”
Vladimir Putin, the new sheriff in the Middle East, could upend all of that, acting as an arbiter, and it is not all that hard for him to get that job because only an unbiased party can arbitrate between factions, and the US has long forfeited its title by rigidly, and absurdly, defending only Israel and Saudi to keep ignorant fanatics happy in the first case and to prop up the dollar in the second. As a result of this rigid one-sidedness, the US is no longer trusted in the Middle East (or most of the rest of the world for that matter).
Each step taken by Vladimir Putin in the Middle East brings the world closer to the dream of a multipolar world. We showed here how this is playing out in Lebanon.
The translation of a Russian expert opinion appearing below shows how Russian involvement in Syria impacted the Saudi situation and is making Riyadh dependent on Russia for help with its economy, damaged by its fruitless support of terrorism in Syria.
Both Putin and Xi Jinping have been gently pushing Riyadh to accept RMB and euros for its oil, knowing that this would greatly weaken the petrodollar agreement with the US and leave the US dollar in a precarious position. The fact that Putin has considerable clout with Riyadh due to Russia’s position in OPEC should keep Washington and Wall Street awake at night.
Balmasov: Saudis in negotiations with Russia on oil want to monetize their defeat in Syria
5 March 2019
Negotiations between Russia and Saudi Arabia on the fate of the oil market, as well as on other issues are crucial for Saudi politics, says Sergey Balmasov, an expert at the Middle East Institute.
Thus, the expert commented on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement during his visit to Riyadh. Lavrov had noted that Moscow and Riyadh agreed to continue coordinating their steps on the world energy market in accordance with the OPEC + agreement. In addition, Lavrov met with Saudi King Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
The parties discussed cooperation in the energy sector, the peaceful use of the atom, industry, agriculture and transport infrastructure. Naturally, in addition to the economy, Lavrov and Al-Jubeir discussed the current situation in Syria.
Russia continues rapprochement with Saudi Arabia
“Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia are not surprising, since in recent years the major powers have chosen a multi-vectorial course in their foreign policy. Since in our globalized age, it is no longer possible to build rigid alliances, such negotiations are unsurprising and logical despite our friction with the Saudis,” states Balmasov.
As for the Saudi foreign policy, the expert notes that Riyadh’s main task is the survival of the kingdom in its present form, since it is becoming more and more difficult for monarchical regimes.
“The situation surrounding Saudi Arabia is complicated - oil prices are at a level that is significantly lower than the figures that were laid down in the Saudi state budget five years ago, and this has been going on for more than a year. In addition, the situation along the Saudi Arabian borders is becomes more complicated,” Balmasov concluded.
The fact is that the situation in Yemen is one of the many manifestations of these unhealthy tendencies, because in Saudi Arabia there are also negative processes that are especially manifested in one of the Shiite-populated provinces of the country.
“Various disturbances take place there regularly, and this is now the main problem for the Saudis, which is pushing the situation in Syria to the back burner. Yes, and Saudi Arabia, which is one of the skirmishers of the Syrian events, has lost in Syria. Now they want to monetize this loss, since Riyadh’s losses in Syria are quite large. Negotiations with Russia on oil play a major role here,” concludes Balmasov.
After all, Saudi Arabia has received nothing in Syria except numerous expenses. And, as the political scientist notes, even Turkey has managed to pinch off something from the Syrian pie, but the Saudis themselves can only chalk up huge expenses to their balance sheet.
“Today, even in Lebanon, for the Saudis, the situation has become more complicated, although this country was for them a kind of rest home. It also goes along with the deterioration of the overall foreign policy situation around Saudi Arabia,” Balmasov said.
Russia is pursuing a multi-vectorial policy in the Middle East
Interestingly, this meeting of Lavrov with the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman and Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir, took place against the background of confirmation by the Kremlin that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be visiting neighbouring Qatar in the near future.
This is important in the sense that due to the recent deterioration of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, the former allied monarchies of Riyadh and Doha broke off diplomatic relations and are now locked in grim conflict. So, the visit of the head of the Russian state to Qatar will be a challenge for Saudi Arabia, which is sensitive to such situations.
"The situation that has now developed between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is a showdown between them. It is a local conflict, involving the struggle for leadership among the modern monarchies of the Persian Gulf," Balmasov summarized.
According to Balmasov, the basis of this conflict is the reluctance of Qatar, one of the most successful states in the region, to tolerate Saudi dictates. All this prevents Qatar from developing effectively.
“If we consider the interests of Russia in this situation, then first we need to understand what our country can gain from the quarrel between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And most likely we can become an arbiter here, and this will be beneficial for us, since the quarrel is between states that have previously pursued an unfriendly policy towards Moscow, concludes Balmasov.
At the same time, Qatar is much more limited in capabilities than the Saudis, since in a quarrel with Saudi Arabia, Doha can only count on the help of Tehran, which is opposed to Riyadh, and, possibly, the Turks with their military base.
"In this regard, even the American military base is not a guarantee for Qatar, since no one can rule out that the United States, by virtue of its interests, will not conduct a regime change operation in this country," states Balmasov.
And in this situation, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia in difficult relations with the United States and with the conflict between them playing against their national interests, Russia can act as an effective arbiter.
Moreover, we have a lot of interests in the Middle East, including within the framework of regulation of the oil market.
Author: Dmitry Sikorsky