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Aramco attacks .. Where US weapons in Saudi Arabia?


Mohamed Minshawi-Washington

Recent developments related to attacks on facilities of Saudi Aramco have led to question the military capabilities of the Saudi armed forces.

Many experts in Washington are surprised by the weakness of Saudi military capabilities, despite the acquisition of the latest production of US military factories, especially with the repeated attacks by the Houthis using drones or surface-to-surface missiles, penetrating Saudi defenses and reaching its goals.

Russian flexibility
On the other hand, the developments of the attack prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to advise Saudi Arabia on its military purchases, during a meeting on Monday with leaders of Turkey and Iran.

"If Saudi Arabia wants to defend itself, it should follow the example of Iran, which has acquired S-300 missiles from Russia, and Turkey, which bought S-400s from us, which are an effective way to secure and protect any infrastructure from attack and air attack," Putin said.

Russian President Putin is expected to make a historic visit to Saudi Arabia next month. "Aramco's attack will not affect the preparations for President Vladimir Putin's visit to Saudi Arabia, scheduled for October," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting that Moscow and Riyadh have "strong political will" to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, said the former US ambassador and fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, David Mack that "Russia leaves no opportunity but to intervene to fill the American vacuum, as happened in Syria and with Turkey."

"Moscow wants to sell Russian arms to rich Arab countries since the Soviet era. Russia has sold arms to Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, but it always seeks to sell arms to rich countries to get hard currency quickly and easily, and this has not yet been achieved for Russia."

For his part, the expert on Iranian affairs, and professor at the National Defense University of the Pentagon expert Jawdat Bahgat that Moscow has a great flexibility in its policies towards the countries of the Middle East compared to those of the United States.

He told Al Jazeera Net, "Washington feels the need to support one party in various regional conflicts, while Russia does not support any party against another party, while Putin has good relations with Turkey, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, and exploits any opportunity in any region in the world to promote and sell Russian weapon. "

Saudi weapon effectiveness
More than five years after the start of the war in Yemen, the Riyadh-led coalition has been unable to resolve the battle militarily.

Despite US intelligence and logistical support for Saudi forces, Saudi Arabia has made numerous military mistakes, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties.

On the other hand, the Houthi attacks did not stop at targets across Saudi Arabia using drones or surface-to-surface Scud missiles.

A study by the Congressional Research Service indicates that since Trump's visit to Riyadh in May 2007, many arms sales deals have been agreed, after which the White House asked Congress to approve a number of them, the most important of which are:

- Seven THAD air defense batteries worth $ 13.5 billion.

- 104 air-dropped GBU-10 missiles with a total value of $ 4.46 billion;

- Recurrent support and strengthening of Patriot air defense system batteries worth 6.65 billion dollars.

- 23 C-130J military transport aircraft in addition to maintenance and support programs.

- Eight F-15s worth $ 6.36 billion.

- A frigate made by Lockheed Martin for the Saudi navy is worth $ 6 billion.

- Smart bombs worth seven billion dollars.

Arms embargo
Civilian casualties and the killing of journalist writer Jamal Khashoggi prompted Congress to pass several arms embargoes to Riyadh.

Congress voted in favor of preventing arms exports, and some members said they feared they would be used against civilians during the current war in Yemen, but President Trump has used his constitutional powers and vetoed Congressional decisions, arguing that these decisions would "weaken America's global competitiveness." And it damages its relations with its allies. "

Many military experts in Washington say it is impossible for Saudi Arabia to move away from Washington and go to China or Russia.

Assuming Saudi Arabia's unrealistic desire to head east, this will not happen in a year or two.

Source: aljazeera

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