Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Russia and the political mafia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The hostile statement issued by the Russians against Saudi Arabia – accusing it of supporting terrorism in Syria – is just the latest chapter of Russia’s continual downfall in the Arab region, and indeed Saudi Arabia’s immediate response was truly worthy.

The response came in light of Russia’s bankrupt policy of defending repressive, despotic and tyrannical regimes, standing up for them until their last breath, and then failing to learn lessons from its past experience in other countries.

Today, Russia, with all its power, and military, intelligence and diplomatic weight, is standing up for the crumbling Bashar al-Assad regime. Time after time it endeavors to find alternative causes and excuses; trying to say that what is happening today in Syria must be the result of something other than Bashar al-Assad being a repressive tyrant and a criminal leader. Sometimes, Russia blames the West for its greed and plots, and sometimes it places the blame on terrorism, extremism and armed militias, which is exactly what the Bashar al-Assad regime and its miserable media outlets are trying to promote.

The Russians, either in their modern, independent guise or under their old Soviet cloak, have always been a futile, devious support for righteous causes. The Russians were the first to promptly recognize the state of Israel as it was established on occupied Arab soil, and nevertheless, they continued for many years to “sell” the Arabs the idea that they were supporting and advocating their demands and their wars against Israel. Then a dire catastrophe occurred in 1967 – later on named al-Naksa [the setback] out of politeness. The setback began when the Russians passed on intelligence information to the Syrians (Hafez al-Assad was in charge of Syrian defense at that time), revealing that significant numbers of Israeli troops had amassed at the Golan Heights. The Syrians immediately told [late Egyptian President] Jamal Abdel Nasser, who brandished threats of war and confrontation with Israel in the media, although in fact there were no Israeli military troops in the Golan Heights, nor was Egypt prepared for such a war. Both Egypt and Syria had accepted the Russian bait, and Israel subsequently achieved a landslide victory and gained a tremendous amount of land, promptly managing to double its geographic area.

Everyone is aware of Russia’s hesitant and colluding stances when “supporting” [late Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat as he prepared the Egyptian army before entering the 1973 war. Sadat frankly declared this later on, and was forced to expel all Soviet military experts and technicians from Egypt.

The Soviets presence, in the Arab mindset, has always been associated with supporting tyrannical and repressive governments. The Soviets have only contributed to the reduction of freedoms, the spread of ignorance and corruption, and the loss of prestige and respect for the state. Of course, the Russians and the Soviets were the number-one sponsors of the Nasser, Gaddafi, al-Assad, Saddam Hussein and the then South Yemen regimes. Of course, everyone knows what kind of governance these regimes operated with, and their legacies of poverty, ignorance, corruption, tyranny and darkness that have been left behind.

As for Saudi Arabia, it was always destined to adopt a stance contrary to that of the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia adopted the Holy Koran as the basis for its governance, and therefore the politically secular trend of the Soviets always had little impact in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia bravely and courageously withstood the communist trend’s infiltration attempts in the 1950s and 1960s, and managed to promptly exterminate all dangers stemming from the Soviet intelligence services.

A great confrontation emerged with the fall of Soviet rule in Afghanistan, and the fall of the Soviet Union itself, and as a result the relationship between the Russians and the Saudis was re-evaluated. Yet little has changed, since the Russian President Vladimir Putin, a graduate of the KGB, seems to govern his country with the mentality of his intelligence apparatus rather than diplomacy. He has transformed Russia into a symbol of corruption, where the present-day state is captive of the capitalist mafia with regards to its economy, and the political mafia when it comes to diplomacy. This might explain the barbaric escalation of Russia’s recent discourse towards Saudi Arabia.