Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov tours the Gulf to make Saudi Arabia buy S-400 systems

If Saudi Arabia shows interest in the S-400, it will indicate reassessment of its relationship with the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's tour of the Persian Gulf, which he started Monday, coincides with an attempt that Saudi Arabia made to change its relationship with the United States.

"Developing relations with Russia could witness broader and more important dimensions," Arab Weekly wrote about Lavrov's tour, making a reference to an anonymous source.

"The new US administration combined its defiance of Saudi Arabia with a display of disinterest in the region's concerns. We are also reassessing our relations with Washington," the source added.

Relations between the United States and the Gulf countries are undergoing a crisis of confidence after the Biden administration decided to suspend arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia (it goes about the arms tat were used in Yemen). Moscow will undoubtedly take advantage of the crisis, for example, by offering Gulf countries to buy S-400 missile systems, Arab Weekly pointed out.

Saudi Arabia is concerned that the Biden administration takes an ambiguous position with regard to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdel Aziz, the newspaper wrote. The United States published a previously classified intelligence report, in which the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was accused of organising the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Therefore, sanctions may follow.

Diplomatic sources told Arab Weekly that the Biden administration was making the same mistakes that the Obama administration was making. The latter, the newspaper said, "pushed the Gulf states towards concluding large-scale agreements with China, Russia, India, Britain and France."

    "Lavrov's visit is a card in the hands of Saudi Arabia, which puts the Biden administration in front of a chocie between adjusting its strategy which aims to stunt Riyadh's ambition to play a regional role, or losing major economic and investment opportunities that will go to Russia as it went to China before it."

The source also said that Riyadh needs to preempt the implementation of the US strategy to "open" Iran and increase its influence in Iraq and Yemen without taking into account the interests of Saudi Arabia. In addition, the US is unwilling to consult the Gulf countries to find out their vision of security in the region.

On Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Sergei Lavrov would visit the Arab Emirates on March 8-12. He will then travel to Saudi Arabia, where he is scheduled to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. Afterwards, Lavrov will visit Qatar.

We will find out Saudi Arabia's plans to revise relations with the United States if the Saudis evince interest in Russia's renowned S-400 systems. If a contract is announced during Lavrov's visit, it will become clear that Saudi Arabia is willing to expand its cooperation with Russia considerably.