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A report by the Washington Post newspaper on Saturday highlighted the “difficult relationship” Russia has recently brought together with traditional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran to build future alliances, the most prominent of which will be its own interest. during the next decade.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to portray his invasion of Ukraine as a “fight against Western hegemony”.

“new chapter”

Putin said last Thursday that the world was entering the “most dangerous” decade since World War II, and saw the conflict in Ukraine as a form of struggle against Western hegemony, according to what was quoted by international news agencies.

The next decade for Russia, according to a Washington Post report, is based on the need for Moscow to forge “difficult alliances” between itself and two rivals: Tehran and Riyadh.

These relationships could redraw regional alliances for decades to come, the report said, as the Kremlin balances ties with Iran to obtain weapons and keep the war going, and with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch-nemesis, to keep oil prices high.

Iranian arms sales to Russia represent a symbolic shift, as it is the Islamic Republic’s first intervention in a European war, and this military role carries risks for US and Western interests, and even for Israel and Turkey as well.

“This is a completely new chapter in Iran-Russia relations,” said Henry Roma, an Iran analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, before continuing: “This is a very important step by the Iranians to to force into a war against European soil.”

“Associating your wagon with a country like Russia, which, even in the best case, will come out of the war weak and deeply destructive, is definitely a risky decision,” the man emphasized.

This renewed relationship, according to the report, indicates that Moscow and Tehran continue to serve their interests by seeking common ground between them on various levels.

Moscow and Tehran “fought” on the same side in Syria, supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a common ally.

But the relationship has grown closer this year, emerging in a series of meetings between Russian and Iranian officials, the most prominent of which was Putin’s meeting in July with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, which the Russian narrative that Moscow had , adopted. no choice but to invade Ukraine to defend itself against an attack.

At a meeting this month, Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber and Iranian security officials visited Moscow, where they agreed on new arms shipments, according to Reuters.

Conspiracy theory

With continued threats of a nuclear strike, mutual accusations of plans to use the “bomb” and mounting evidence that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, fears of a new world war have never been greater.

Putin dreams of a multipolar world in which the West is stripped of its influence and he and other tyrants can divide the world into spheres of influence, collecting resources to enrich themselves while viciously crushing opposition.

Analyst for Iran and the Middle East at the think tank “Council on Foreign Relations”, Ray Takeh said in this regard: “There is something in common between the Iranian regime and the Russian Federation, both explain their strategic positions through the prism of conspiracy theories, so it is likely that the level of participation between the two countries will increase because they find themselves in a similar situation.”

The recent political turmoil in Iran increases the likelihood that the regime will turn to Russia for support, with Moscow able to veto its permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to prevent any action against Tehran.

Iran’s leaders also hope that by helping Russia fight it in Ukraine, they can demonstrate that their country is a serious military player globally and leverage arms sales to generate much-needed revenue.

US officials have reported that Iran plans to send more drones as well as powerful ballistic missiles to Russia, which has depleted its stockpile of missiles.

The United States also said the Iranians were training Russian drone operators at a base in Russian-occupied Crimea.

The Ukrainian National Resistance Center, part of Ukraine’s special operations forces, reported this week that Iranian drone trainers are helping the Russians coordinate drone strikes in Mykulechi, near Gomel in southern Belarus.

Economic interests.. crossroads

During talks between them in July, Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding on a $40 billion deal with the National Iranian Oil Company.

In September, Russia sent a delegation of 65 business leaders to Iran.

Despite all these “pink meetings”, as the American newspaper put it, the alliance faces risks, especially the persistent mistrust between Russia and Iran.

Russia previously voted for UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, and Iranian leaders saw Moscow as unhelpful during the international talks that led to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to the analysis.

Competition between Russia and Iran for oil and natural gas sales has intensified recently, with Moscow turning to China as its main market in the future, which is driving down the price of Iranian oil even as the Iranian economy suffers from high unemployment, inflation and deficits.

Putin prides himself on being a player who deals with all sides in the Middle East. But his war in Ukraine contributed to global economic turmoil, particularly in the energy sector, and created political problems that required him to maneuver carefully through sensitive regional contests.

What does Riyadh get?

Washington’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been strained by its decision this month to work with Russia to cut oil production and keep prices high, with US President Joe Biden warning of “consequences for what they did with Russia.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently wrote that Putin could use Russian oil power, along with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, to hurt his Western rivals.

Saudi Arabia and others see Washington’s interest in their region waning, making cooperation with Moscow more fruitful for them, according to the report.

The report did not specify exactly what Saudi interests could be derived from such an “alliance,” other than Putin’s statements praising the decision of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Putin said in his foreign policy speech last Thursday that Mohammed bin Salman was only seeking to achieve his national interests with his decision to reduce oil production.

“I know the crown prince personally very well,” he said. He wants to balance energy markets.. For international energy markets the most important thing is predictability and stability.. That’s all that matters, and the crown prince strives to achieve that.”

And Israel has come under increasing pressure to help Ukraine, where Putin’s war is increasingly seen as a testing ground for Iranian drones and weapons that could be turned against Israel, a country Iran has repeatedly vowed to destroy.

Meanwhile, Iran is hoping to reverse Russia’s previous refusal to supply it with S-400 air defense systems and advanced fighter jets, moves that would startle Saudi Arabia and possibly Turkey.

If Putin “defeats” Ukraine, Iran as an ally can also expect large energy investments and Moscow’s support in global institutions.

But if Russia, which is under heavy sanctions, fails, Iran’s decision to associate itself with Putin will further damage its global economic and political prospects, and the demise of the regime that is reeling in the face of growing revolution at home. drive on

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