21:43 GMT28 October 2020
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

    King Salman has been impressed by Russia's counterterrorism campaign in Syria so much that he is allegedly planning to come to Moscow before the year is out to "forge an alliance with Russia," Dr. Mordechai Kedar wrote for Arutz Sheva.

    The oil kingdom is one of America's key allies in the Middle East but Riyadh and Washington have long appeared to be slowly moving apart. At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Russia have been increasingly interested in improving bilateral ties.

    Kedar, who served at the IDF's military intelligence agency for 25 years, outlined four major reasons explaining this trend.

    "The most important is America's weak standing in the region, obvious to all and exacerbated by Obama's announcing his retirement from the position of world policeman and the beginning of the American electoral campaign. There is no one to talk to anymore in Washington, especially now that it has become clear that the Iran Agreement is a 'done deal,'" he noted.

    Apart from this, the Saudis have been impressed by Russia's decisive counterterrorism efforts but they also do not want to see Russian ground troops in Syria.

    And finally, Riyadh "[fears] an Iranian-Russian alliance outside the range of Saudi influence. Without the backing of America and Europe, the Saudis prefer to act along the lines of 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' The king feels that he will have more influence on the Iranians with regard to Yemen, Iraq and Syria if he joins the club instead of remaining outside it," the analyst noted.

    Mordechai Kedar also asserted that the Russian aerial campaign in Syria is efficient since it helped to change the situation on the battlefield. Damascus-led forces assisted by Russian aircraft have managed to launch a major ground offensive retaking areas which were previously overtaken by extremists.

    Russia launched an aerial campaign against radical groups, who are fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and establish an Islamic state in Syria, following a formal request from Damascus. Russian forces have conducted nearly a thousand sorties since September 30, killing militants and destroying command posts, training camps, as well as ammunition depots.

    Russian air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria
    © Sputnik /
    Russian air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)


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    Middle East, Russian aerial campaign, alliance, Syrian conflict, counterterrorism, geopolitics, Iran, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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