Russia Trolls U.S. by Offering Missiles to Saudis at Press Conference with Iranian President

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrive for a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in the Turkish capital to discuss the situation in Syria, with the aim of …
AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Saudi Arabia on Monday to buy his nation’s S-400 missile defense system to protect its oil facilities from drone attacks.

U.S. officials have accused Iran of launching more than 20 drones and cruise missiles against the Sunni kingdom’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco on Saturday, CBS News reported. The attack reportedly cut the Sunni kingdom’s oil production by half and took nearly six percent of global crude production offline.

Putin cited the Q’uran in making the S-400 sales pitch during a joint press conference in Ankara. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, both considered Saudi Arabian rivals, participated in the briefing focused on Syria.

The New York Times (NYT) reported:

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia evidently also saw it [the attack] as a chance to make a sales pitch, or at least enjoy a joke, at the expense of the West.

Mr. Rouhani, seated next to Mr. Putin, laughed visibly. The broadcast on the state-owned Russian television network RT [Russia Today] captured the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, chuckling to himself in the audience.

On Tuesday, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, told journalists that Saudi Arabia has not responded to Putin’s offer, the state-run TASS news agency noted.

During Monday’s press conference, Putin proclaimed:

The Quran says that any kind of violence is unacceptable, except for one kind of violence, when you protect your people.

We are ready to help Saudi Arabia protect their people. They need to make clever decisions, as Iran did by buying our S300, as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S400 air defense systems.

These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.

On Tuesday, Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta doubled down on the alleged need for the Saudi’s to purchase the S-400 missile defense system, citing an unnamed Arab diplomat.

The anonymous diplomatic source allegedly from the six-member alliance of Arab Peninsula countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), told the newspaper:

Saudi Arabia will probably want to reinforce its missile defenses following these attacks. I think that the S-400 systems will be one of the first options for consideration. … I don’t think that under the current situation, Saudi Arabia will take any steps against Iran or [its Shiite-majority ally] Iraq.

The U.S. has cleared Iraq as the origin of Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia.

Alleged expert Ruslan Mamedov, the program coordinator at the Russian International Affairs Council, said the attack is a testament to the failure of the American-made Patriot systems the Saudis use.

Putin has been seeking to expand the Kremlin’s influence on Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, including through the sale of weapons. U.S law, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), compels the U.S. President to sanction allies that purchase military equipment from NATO foe Russia. The Trump administration is considering sanctioning Turkey for its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

U.S. President Donald Trump has also blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia.

Deemed the single worst sudden disruption to oil markets ever, the attack sent prices surging more than 15 percent to their highest level in nearly four months.

Iranian-allied Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi oil facilities. Houthis are known for sending drones in missile attacks into Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen.

Citing the unnamed U.S. official, CBS News noted, “Saudi Arabia’s air defenses have been aimed south for months, to protect against missile attacks launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, so they were useless against the missiles and drones coming in from the north.”

Echoing Trump, world leaders lambasted the crippling assault as a blow to the world’s economy and a menace to regional stability.


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