‘As the cherry on the sundae, Putin suggested to Bandar Bush to abandon “sectarian instigations and supporting terrorism, because it is a double edged sword that will rebound inside Saudi Arabia and gather momentum in a manner that you will not be able to control.”’ – Quote
- It’s Putin vs Bandar Bush on the Syrian chessboard!
by Pepe Escobar, http://rt.com/op-edge/
Everyone remembers the spectacular four-and-a-half hour meeting last August in Moscow between President Putin and Bandar Bush – aka Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Director of National Intelligence.
Well, there was a remix last week, also in Moscow. And once again in absolute secrecy, until a formidable leak from “a close and reliable source” in Russia reached Lebanese newspaper al-Manar.
Bandar Bush’s first offensive was a disaster; not only did Putin rebuff his attempt to “bribe” Moscow into abandoning Damascus, but subsequently Russia was pivotal in preventing the Obama administration from bombing Syria.
Now Bandar Bush has “offered” softer terms. After all, Saudi Arabia is on board with the Geneva-2 peace conference scheduled for January 22 – although it didn’t used to be. President Bashar Assad may remain in Damascus during this period, but real power should be transferred to an interim government headed by the “opposition” (which opposition is open to speculation; certainly the “rebels” controlled by Riyadh).
Moreover, Bandar Bush expects Russia to pressure Assad not to call for a 2014 presidential election. According to the Syrian constitution, a new constitution should be written and approved during the interim government and only then elections should be called – with Assad excluded. If Moscow abides, Saudi Arabia will be more than willing to “contribute” to the cost of rebuilding Syria (which it helped destroy via financed/weaponized mercenaries).
Leaving aside the mind-boggling spectacle of the House of Saud’s medieval paradise dictating the terms for the future of a third country, President Putin’s answer can be summarized as a model of restraint.