Saudi Arabia permanently seized the initiative in the regional and global scale.
Over the past few years the foreign community believed that international politics is entering a new era. The distinguishing features of this order established after the end of the cold war rivalry of the superpowers and the restructuring of American relations with the outside world. And they are felt nowhere more clearly than in the middle East, where U.S. allies to develop the diplomatic, trade and military relations exactly with those powers with whom Washington the idea competes, with China and Russia. At the same time a lot of American experts, analysts, officials and politicians urge to leave the Middle East. This encouraged many of them to the conclusion that the new regional order will be established in Beijing or Moscow, the newspaper writes Foreign Policy (translation inosmi.ru).
However, there are many reasons for doubt, and some of them clearly manifested in recent weeks. The most acute of them — the ongoing price war for oil between Moscow and Riyadh, which demonstrated that Russia overestimated their capabilities.
After almost 30 years after the end of the cold war, the leaders of the Middle East do favorable look at the extension of Russian power. Since then, Moscow has dumped the ideological baggage of the Soviet communism, and America looks more and more exhausted, helpless, and clueless, regional players see in Russia, if not an alternative to Washington, then at least the player in the example is more constructive. The contrast between a former US President Barack Obama allegedly abandoned Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak adrift, and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin invaded Syria to rescue Bashar al-Assad, has made an indelible impression on the Arab rulers. The negative image of the United States is compounded by the fact that the economic and political systems of the Middle East have more in common with Russia than with the United States is the dependence on oil revenues, and authoritarianism.
Washington himself much contributed to this. In the pursuit of “energy independence”, whatever the meaning of Donald trump in these words a put, the US has relied on the technologies of fracking and flooded the markets of natural gas and oil produced from oil shale. Energy prices came down, and in 2016, the members of OPEC (mainly Saudi Arabia) and Russia agreed to limit production in order to raise them.
The agreement is essentially the result of the previous oil war, when the Saudis refused to cut production in a vain attempt to undermine American Kantemirov — stabilised the energy markets. The price for a barrel of oil has returned to the level when the Saudis and Russians have enough funds for their plans, whether of war (see Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Libya) or social transformation. In the end, the plan of the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman by 2030 — not cheap.
The agreement relating to the oil, but opened the way to the reformatting of relations in the Persian Gulf. For the Saudis, the Russians became some sort of protection from unpredictable United States, where, despite political dysfunction and polarization, clearly there is a broad consensus that the Middle East will sooner or later have to leave. Russia, in turn, thanks to the cooperation with Saudi Arabia has received the support of its regional policy and expanded the influence. By whether American or not is debatable, but often the image overshadows the reality. At least Putin wanted everyone to believe that he is able to push the Saudis away from US, as he had done with the Turks and Egyptians. That’s why when trump has not responded to Iran with a military strike over the attack Saudi oil refineries in September 2019, Putin put aside the mockery, and invited the Saudis to buy air defense system s-400 (the same system of arms previously purchased by Turkey, and ended up cooling between Washington and Ankara).
And yet, despite the obvious coincidence of interests of Saudi Arabia and Russia, especially in the energy sector, Saudi-Russian era to happen was not meant to be. Russian and blame no one but themselves. Even before the murder of the journalist “the Washington post” (The Washington Post) Jamal Khashoggi about Mohammed bin Salman was said to be impetuous and arrogant. He proved the truth of these words, and it is easy to imagine that the price of oil over the last month unleashed his vehemence. But this is not the case. In early March, Saudi Arabia came to the meeting of OPEC+ (which includes ten countries that are not members of the oil cartel, including Russia) and in fact said the following: now a global pandemic, the demand for our products has fallen, so let’s remove from the market one million barrels. From the point of view of Saudi Arabia a perfectly reasonable proposal, but the Russians rejected it, saying that you want to evaluate all the consequences of the coronavirus to the world economy before reducing production. It was quite ridiculous, because by the time the majority has become clear that the coronavirus of the economy are closed one after the other and demand for oil and gas is falling.
Most likely, the Russians did not want to cut production, because the expected harm to the American kancevica and squeeze market share from the Saudis. Because they got mad at me — they didn’t like what they are bred as suckers. Then the Saudis have suggested that they, the Russians and the United States reduced the production proportionally. Russian, according to them, demanded that the Saudis reduced the most. The Russian position has excited in Riyadh fears that any agreement they may have signed, the Russians will still be an incentive for deception, to undermine the incomes of Saudi Arabia and its market share is the worst of all possible outcomes. The result is Saudi Arabia from the meeting and departed, promising to increase production to 10 million barrels a day, and began to offer large discounts on their oil. It was an attempt to intimidate the Russian and force them to return to the table of negotiations, but the Russian said that low oil prices will hold. Then the Saudis said that too, and world oil prices collapsed.
The United States seems to have fallen victim to this oil war. Hardest worried congressmen from the oil States. But the winners will not be here. It can claim is that the Chinese: they can expect that the recovery from the epidemic will start with cheap oil.
Anyway, this incident is likely to negate the idea that Moscow will play an important role in establishing a new regional order. Italian political scientist and theorist of Marxism of Antonio Gramsci (Antonio Gramsci) once wrote about the interregnum or the interregnum — a time when one order fell and the new can not be born. It was then noticed Gramsci, appear “painful symptoms”.
Now we are just in this transitional period, and may seek a new order make no mistake about the obvious strengthening Saudi-Russian ties, is showing signs of decay, not the harbingers of a new global system.