Putin Called Saudi King, Next US Ally Lost?
Russian President Vladimir Putin called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, according to Al Arabiya. The overture hints that Saudi Arabia, like Egypt, is poised to shift alliances from the US to Russia.
The two leaders discussed ties between the two countries as well as regional issues such as the Syrian conflict and Iranian nuclear talks. Russian officials told AFP that the two leaders "expressed a mutual interest in furthering cooperation and maintaining contacts at various levels."
The overtures between Russia and Saudi Arabia mirror recent announcements of cooperation between Russia and Egypt. The rapprochement between those two nations is anticipated to be sealed in a $15 billion arms deal largely funded by Saudi Arabia.
Analyst and attorney Mark Langfan in August predicted that US President Barack Obama had lost American ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and that the Saudis, in distancing themselves from Obama, would turn towards Russia.
Langfan furthermore predicted America's loss of naval support from Egypt, saying the country would also turn to Russia following a partial suspension of US military aid.
Indeed the Russian replacement of America in terms of cooperation with Egypt and regional influence in general appears to be coming to fruition, as America began withdrawing warships from the Middle East last Friday, less than a week after Russia sent its most powerful warships to the Mediterranean.
The most visible signs of how rocky American-Saudi ties have been came in October when Saudia Arabia rejected a UN Security Council seat in a show of frustration with Obama's handling of the Syrian crisis and his weak stance on Iran.