After Saudi attacks, Russia makes its regional presence felt
Russia is trying to take advantage of the recent drone attacks that disrupted about half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity in order to increase its influence in the Middle East, analysts say. Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport responded to the attacks by scheduling talks with leaders in the region about the possible of sale of new anti-drone weapons systems to those countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin is bound to promote those systems and other investments in Russian weaponry during his visit the Gulf region next month.
In the past few years, Russia has successfully manifested itself in the Middle East by playing a leading role in the Syrian civil war, where it has enabled President Bashar al-Assad to regain control over most of the country; by maintaining relations with sworn enemies Israel and Iran; and by getting Turkey, a NATO member state, to purchase a Russian missile system despite fierce criticism from the US government.
According to Mathieu Boulegue of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, “Russia is positioning itself as a systemic actor in the Middle East, which means no ‘problem’ big or small will be left unturned by the Kremlin.”