Saudi Arabia opened its historic four day visit to Moscow with a clear indication that it is ready shift towards the Russian orbit. With the Kingdom penning a $3 billion arms deal with Putin and agreeing to buy Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system, the seismic shift is clearly well underway.
Up until now the prevailing assumption was that Israel had growing covert relations with the Sunni leader due to the ascendancy of Iran, but a Saudi shift to Russia puts this theory on ice.
With a US on freefall and a Russia in firm control of the Middle Eastern future, Saudi Arabia has no choice but to switch allegiences in the hope that Russia would be able to hold back Iran from attacking.
Israel has always prided itself on having a neutral foreign policy which has allowed it in recent years to expand relations to countries previously off its radar such as China, India, and much of East Africa. Yet, the presence of Russia and the shifting positions of its Sunni allies in the face of a US in the midst of a regional pullback, changes its calculus in relating to the growing strength of Iran on its border.
Israel can no longer pretend to remain neutral while Russia allows Israel’s Persian nemesis to gain the upperhand. Jerusalem must decide to either stick it out by itself while its long time ally America pulls back or finally decide like the Saudis that it is better to cut a deal with Putin in hopes he holds back Iran rather than face them alone.