13.12.2023 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Middle East triumph of the Russian President Vladimir Putin

Middle East triumph of the Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin’s visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, his negotiations in Moscow with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Crown Prince of the Sultanate of Oman, Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said, have shown the integrity and viability of the idea proposed by the Russian president to create a multipolar world instead of the decrepit and incapable of anything unipolar world built by the selfish and self-loving West to suit itself. The visit undoubtedly emphasizes the ever-changing situation in world geopolitics, which allows Vladimir Putin to demonstrate a sense of confidence and noble qualities as one of the new world’s leaders. This is the assessment of this visit by The Times of India. The publication emphasizes that Putin’s Middle East tour comes at a time when the West is showing signs of disagreement over support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. These tendencies, multiplied by the controversial political environment in the U.S. around the issue of aid to Ukraine, are creating a tense atmosphere around the ongoing conflict and its global repercussions.

The visit also coincides with recent important events in the OPEC+ organization, where Russia plays a key role. The organization’s decision to extend and increase oil production cuts together with Saudi Arabia was an important point of discussion in the negotiations, which will further emphasize Russia’s decisive place in the global oil market. As we know, Saudi Arabia is the big sister in the Arabian Peninsula and its opinion is decisive for its younger sisters – Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman and Yemen. That is why it is safe to say that the results of the negotiations reached in Riyadh will be strictly implemented by all Gulf states.

“The combination of factors such as Ukraine’s difficulties in receiving Western aid, the West’s focus on the Israeli-Hamas conflict and the political stalemate in Washington may be perceived by Putin as a shift in the ongoing conflicts on the world stage in Russia’s favour,” The Times of India speculates. Such a broad informational reaction over a one-day visit to the Persian Gulf countries speaks of the efficiency of Russian diplomacy and personally of President Vladimir Putin in conducting and solving world processes.

The British Daily Mail also writes about the triumph of Vladimir Putin’s visit and writes about the secrecy that surrounded his visit to Riyadh. And then immediately reveals it, noting that the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Russia was originally planned, but it was postponed due to recent events in the region. The media also draws attention to the fact that for the first time in the history of diplomacy, the Russian President’s plane was escorted by Su-35 military fighter jets. In addition, the Daily Mail was rightly impressed by the difference in Vladimir Putin’s attitude toward officials in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with whom he shook hands warmly, and toward the British ambassador and a number of other foreign diplomats, with whom he did not speak to in Moscow after the ceremony where they presented their credentials.

One can refer to the great and emphasized respect (it is very valued in the Middle East and is more valuable than any money) that the Arab hosts showed to the Russian guest. There were firm and friendly handshakes, hearty smiles and joyful faces everywhere. Although the U.S. is the UAE’s main security partner, it was Putin who was given a lavish reception and a 21-gun salute. And how dramatically different from the cold and most likely hostile attitude to the arrival of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the president of Germany, once a powerful and respected country in the Arab world, and now an American lackey state. The Russian proverb says it right – “every mutt shall know its place”.

Many global media outlets have devoted analytical articles to Putin’s Middle East talks, noting that the Persian Gulf monarchies are gradually coming out from the influence of the U.S. and are actively establishing contacts with Moscow and Beijing. The Saudi leadership is no longer obeying the command directives of the U.S. State Department, and outraged Americans are trying to punish the stubborn ally for this, but the decrepit hegemon is not strong enough, it is time for him to rest. Last year, Saudi Arabia refused to increase oil production and thus helped Russia keep its economy on track. The Biden administration was disappointed, to say the least. Moreover, whenever the price of oil dropped below $80 a barrel, the Saudis managed to convince OPEC+ producers and ensure a stable price by cutting supplies.

Against this background, Saudi Arabia hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for a three-day state visit last December. Subsequently, at China’s insistence, Saudi Arabia was invited to join the BRICS group of non-Western economies (along with Iran and the United Arab Emirates). Thus, over the past year, Saudi Arabia, against all the U.S. wishes and expectations, has gotten even closer to Russia. Since then, the wheel has spun even faster. On 20 November, the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of a mutual currency arrangement with the People’s Bank of China worth 50 billion yuan.

It was recently revealed that following a review by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, Washington ordered a Saudi Aramco-owned venture capital fund to sell its stake in a high-tech semiconductor company backed by OpenAI founder Sam Altman.

Both of these events are certain to prove momentous. Since the U.S. government has essentially told the former Saudi-American oil company, “Your money is not welcome here: take it elsewhere,” politicians in Riyadh may well conclude that the dollar itself is the problem, turning to other currencies. Thus, hostile actions on the part of Washington, which recently imposed sanctions on the Saudis for the first time, limiting their access to advanced technologies, are further pushing Riyadh to switch from the U.S. dollar to other currencies in international settlements.

Another important topic that alienates the Arab states from the U.S. and brings them closer to Russia is the situation in Palestine. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been insisting on an end to the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. However, the U.S. leadership stubbornly supports Tel Aviv’s actions, which have led to a severe humanitarian crisis. Moreover, the U.S., contrary to the opinion of the majority of representatives in the UN Security Council, vetoed a resolution to stop the bloodshed in Gaza, once again confirming that the Palestinians are being annihilated by the Israelis with the help of American weapons. This criminal action by the U.S. at the UNSF caused” dramatic outrage around the world and showed the true face of the Palestinians executioners,” noted the highly influential Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. This meeting is a continuation of Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s efforts to work with influential international players to coordinate joint actions to end the war in the Gaza Strip, protect civilians and deliver humanitarian aid,” the newspaper wrote of the negotiations with Putin.

Returning from his triumphant tour of two Middle Eastern countries, Vladimir Putin held highly successful negotiations with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Here is what the Tehran Times wrote about it: “In the dynamic world of global diplomacy, Iran and Russia are creating a history of growing comradery. Recent years have seen a surge in their relations, reminiscent of the revival of historic alliances.” Despite the challenges, Iran and Russia have found common ground – fertile ground for mutual interests to flourish. Diplomatic initiatives between Tehran and Moscow have not gone unnoticed, especially in the face of punitive and illegal Western sanctions against the two countries. Both countries are firmly committed to developing economic and trade ties, and the noteworthy defence partnership has attracted international attention and caution, especially from Washington, over its unprecedented expansion. Vladimir Putin emphasized that Russia and Iran “attach paramount importance to strengthening their economic and trade ties,” stressing the depth of their bilateral relations.

Tehran’s acquisition of Sukhoi Su-35 modern fighter jets, the best in their class, caused particular teeth-gnashing and even anger in the West. This move not only symbolized a pragmatic approach to the country’s national security, but also served as evidence of the developing dynamic between Tehran and Moscow. The Su-35 deal was a tangible expression of mutual trust and strategic alignment, reflecting the common interests underpinning broader diplomatic relations.

It must be said that President Ebrahim Raisi, with his balanced approach, has expanded the scope of engagement beyond traditional diplomatic avenues to encompass the strategic dimension of defence cooperation. Now, Israel and its protégé the U.S. should think twice before attacking the sovereign state of Iran. In this regard, after all, there have already been a number of joint manoeuvres where the U.S. and Israeli militaries pompously practiced the details of attacking Iranian targets. But Russia ruined their game by supplying Iran with the world’s best Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets.

During his meeting with the Crown Prince of Oman Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said, the Russian leader asked his counterpart to convey “the best wishes” to the Sultan and Prime Minister of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. In addition, the head of state invited the chairman of the Oman government to visit the Russian Federation in 2024. “He (Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said) stood at the origins of our relations. <…> We will be happy to see him in Russia at a time that is convenient for him, but not until next year. This year is already coming to an end,” Putin noted. The unfair world order and the “domination of the West” must be changed, the Crown Prince said at his meeting with Vladimir Putin. “I listened very carefully to your speech, I would like to confirm that I share all your assessments of the current international situation, first of all, the need to end the current unfair world order and the domination of the West, as well as to build a new fair world order, economic relations without double standards,” the Crown Prince said.

It should be mentioned that it is Oman that controls the Strait of Hormuz from the Arabian Peninsula, and together with Iran, they can completely block this most important world sea through-passage. And only recently up to 75% of the world’s oil supplies passed through this strait and, therefore, blocking this strait would mean, first of all, for the U.S. and Europe, the collapse of their economies and their transition to the category of developing countries. This is why the West gives such great significance to the Middle East region and its vast natural resources.

There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin’s visit to the two countries of the Arabian Peninsula and the negotiations in Moscow will give a new strong impulse to the development of bilateral and multilateral relations with the region of the Arab World. At the same time, the countries around the world, which seek to create a new multipolar world, can have a friend and reliable partner represented by Russia. Moscow, as they say, is always responsible for its words and promises, and no one can have any doubts about it.


Victor Mikhin, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.

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