Saudi Arabia Steps Up Efforts To Oust Syria’s Assad

August 09, 2013
Charles Recknagel
Radio Free Europe (US sponsored)

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia wants to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But just how much Riyadh is willing to use its money to reach that goal can be surprising.

One measure was a meeting on July 31 in Moscow between Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Details of the meeting are still sketchy, but Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia say the prince offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons if Moscow agreed to ease its support of Assad and stop blocking future UN Security Council resolutions on Syria.

At the same time, the prince reportedly offered to ensure that no Persian Gulf country would export natural gas across the Arabian Peninsula to challenge Russia’s position as the main gas supplier to Europe.

Moscow appears to have not been interested, with the Kremlin saying on August 9 that media accounts of an offer were inaccurate.

Putin’s foreign-policy adviser, Yury Ushakov, told reporters that “Putin did not discuss a deal.” He added that “no specific questions on developing military cooperation were discussed” and that the meeting was of “a philosophical character” only.

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