Putin’s rare visit to the Middle East, amid the war in Ukraine. Putin has visited Nine Countries since the war in Ukraine began and Seven of them are former Soviet states, and the exception is China and Iran.
If we see what would be the agenda of Putin`s visit, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Russia are part of the group called OPEC Plus. It’s a cartel of oil-producing countries and last week they announced a major decision that they agreed to voluntarily cut their oil output which is near about 2.2 million barrels per day.
Putin’s rare visit to the Middle East
The Idea here is to prop up oil prices and in late September Brent crude was trading at around 94$ per barrel, but mid November it had fallen to 77$. The OPEC Plus wants to change that and what better way than cutting output? The strategy of Putin is to keep all oil money flowing into the treasury.
In Saudi Arabia, Putin held talks with MBS. It dates back to late 2016 when oil prices were in the dump then, OPEC alone was unable to make a difference, therefore other oil States came together to form what we call OPEC plus, and MBS and Putin were key to those talks, thus they will be hoping for some of that magic because 2024 does not look good for oil States.
The economic growth is projected to be Sluggish and China`s growth is not picking up so oil demand will likely be low, which is not a good indication for countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia. Looking at the numbers oil and gas make up 28% of Russia`s Revenue while in Saudi Arabia oil makes up 40% of the DGP hence the worries if oil collapses all of Oil rich countries will suffer.
“ Unfortunately we can see a sharp deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, I think that many will agree with me that this is a clear example of the failure of the Policy of the United States in the Middle East which actually tried to monopolize the resolution of the conflict but unfortunately wasn’t concerned with finding compromises acceptable to both sides. On the contrary, it promoted its ideas about how this should be done”.
Russia has been successfully filling up the vacuum that is made by the US. Russia and Iran close partnership in the Gulf and their cooperation has grown stronger as pressure from the West has grown stronger on both states. The Russian media reveals that Iran and Russia are going to sign a large weapons deal that includes Russian advanced fighter jets, Helicopter and most importantly Russians are going to provide Nuclear Technology to Iran after the 1990s, which is a big shift in the military power balance in the region.
Vladimir Putin has been wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court for the invasion of Ukraine, we have previously seen the Skip of Brick’s summit in South Africa which recognized ICC to avoid causing any kind of a political showdown and also skipped the G20 meeting in India, however, Moscow is seeking to reassert itself on the global stage and also to bolster its influence in West Asia.
Putin is trying to convey the message with all these high-profile meetings to Foreign audiences and domestic audiences that the agenda of the West to isolate Russia is fallacious. The way Putin received the Russian flag in the sky, the military fly by the guard of honor, and the gun salute show that Vladimir Putin is still very much relevant in the global arena, especially in the Gulf Region where Putin has many close relationships including the Crown prince.