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Iran, Lebanon, the Taliban, the Kuril Islands, "the Case of Khashoggi": why fails the foreign policy strategy of Russia?
Material posted: Publication date: 28-11-2018
Sanctions against Iran, the negotiations over the Kuril Islands, "the Case of Khashoggi" and the Taliban negotiations with the Afghan government in the framework of the "Moscow format" discussed with the Russian political scientist, doctor of political Sciences, Deputy General Director of the Center for strategic estimates and projections by Igor Pankratenko.

— "The case of Jamal Khashoggi", apparently, came to the final point. The fact of his murder by persons consisting on public service of the Kingdom, proven. The CIA argues that the order for action came from the crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. So who is behind this crime and what is the purpose of murder of the journalist? It's an internal conflict or external players fight each other in order to bring to power his man in Saudi Arabia?

Igor Pankratenko

Almost immediately around this tragedy, is striking in its cynicism, in the first place because of the place where it was done — a number of conspiracy theories of nature, including and of customers of a crime. But, in my opinion, the results of my personal investigation of all the circumstances, I think we need in this case to apply "Occam's razor", in other words — do not multiply entities without necessity. Or, if you prefer — if all explanations of the phenomenon are equal, then the simplest explanation will be the right one.

I know that personally, I have no doubt that "the little Prince" was the customer of murder. Moreover — and his partner. After all, few people noticed that shortly before the incident he invited Khashoggi as an adviser. Moreover, in such an interesting manner that on the one hand Khashoggi was forced to withdraw, and on the other believe that their personal differences Prince is ready to solve in a civilized manner. Khashoggi is not your typical liberal journalist, living with illusions, his glasses and intelligent person should not deceive anyone. He knew the manners of the elite of the Kingdom, one of them by birth, was aware of how there are able to eliminate unwanted. In short, shredded and broken life of a professional, with experience in exploration — but in the Consulate they went without hesitation, without even providing insurance. The means were confident that nothing bad could happen. And who could inspire his confidence? Whose guarantees would he believe? Well, a couple of points, partly confirming my thoughts. The first is a psychological portrait of Muhammad bin Salman, the way he makes decisions. Here's the order to murder Khashoggi is quite in his spirit, in his manner — there's no internal contradictions.

And second, we have to understand who in his eyes was Jamal Khashoggi. First of all, the minion and confidant of those in the dynasty who is little Prince openly hates, whom he regards as his mortal enemies. In addition, Khashoggi was a great connection with the American establishment, those who are the representatives of the "deep state", the real rulers of America. And with them he generously shared with insiders about the real situation in the Kingdom, not the pink syrup that the little Prince told his friend, Jared Kushner. That is — Khashoggi for the little Prince was an enemy, a traitor and a possible source of future trouble. As with similar subjects decided to do in Riyadh — I think we all know, cut for a lot less.

— Trump quite clearly said that what happened will not cause a rupture with Saudi Arabia. Now influential members of the dynasty affirm their support for the heir to the throne, though for anybody not a secret that some of them do not recognize the crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as the future king. It turns out that the whole scandal will come to naught, and the prediction that the Prince will be a big problem, did not materialize? In General, what, in your opinion, are the implications of this case, beyond cynicism shook the world community?

Yes, trump has been quite expected and quite technical. At stake — his campaign against Iran, in which more true allies in the Muslim world than Riyadh, simply does not exist. Plus — download American military-industrial complex Saudi orders, the stability of oil prices and so on. Well, have imposed sanctions against several people — and why are you still need. Moreover, in his statement, he's called a specific — though not final, here it is still fiercely haggle — sum "penalty" for al-Rida, the ones indicated in his statement $ 450 billion investment in the American economy, and orders for U.S. business, which has to pay the Saudis. But the fact of the matter is that this story is far from over. And from the public sphere moves into the area of the real movements which are rarely discussed in the media.

Jamal Khashoggi, as I said above, was not only an opponent of bin Salman. He was one of the most serious contacts in the middle East Washington elite contact effective from the inside against the dynasty and to the informal channel of communication with the opposition to the little Prince in the establishment of the Kingdom, and is closely associated through thousands of financial and other yarns with the elites throughout the Middle East. In the Istanbul Consulate were killed the journalist. Kill the representative of those in the dynasty who were protesting against an adventurous foreign policy of the crown Prince and tried to convey their concern about this to Washington. In this case, trump is not just merged/forgave/gave no response — choose a convenient definition of his murder. With his statement he showed the entire region that contact with the Americans simply does not make sense — if anything to protect or even avenge. And this blow to reputation, and its implications for Washington may be as if not even more serious than the rest. Here at the CIA understands this, and trump is not. The "deep state" of the United States, it appears, does not consider the story finished and certainly still have their say, strong and unpleasant for the little Prince.

Now about the future behavior of the dynasty. The fact that they are rallying around someone yesterday hotly hated nothing amazing and quite logical. "Son of a bitch, but ours, and we ourselves, without infidels, we shall understand" — something like that.

Moreover, in near future we can expect a show "Dynasty strikes back" when the Saudis and their allies from the UAE and Bahrain will go on the offensive. That is — will be raised again the question of the nuclear programme of Saudi Arabia, supporting their aggressive policies in the middle East and so on. The logic is simple, it said recently in his speech at the Beirut Institute of Turki al-Faisal: "they (US and West) recognize that king Salman and crown Prince are the people with whom they have to deal with. And Saudi Arabia will continue to play its role on the world stage."

By the way, this will also mean a more assertive stance of the Arab monarchies against what they considered "interference in internal Affairs." In this respect, the case of a graduate student Matthew hedges, which in the UAE first defiantly was sentenced to life for "espionage" (not with those people he talked to during the process of preparing the materials for the "Arab spring"), and yesterday as demonstrative contempt for the British authorities pardoned him — very revealing. So in the near future and will be talking to external partners in situations that feel fundamental.

— The efforts of the US and the UK are clear. Turkey in Khashoggi is his game. And Russia? Is there a role of Russia?

— You know, for me personally, from the very beginning it was clear that "business Khashoggi" is not of Russian history and Moscow will try from a maximum distance. Not so much because after "case Skrypalia" its reputation is below the lower — West is convinced that Russia tried to do it, and true or not — one can by and large not interested. In these circumstances, to comment on the murder is simply impractical, indeed — fraught, so sometimes it's better to be silent than to speak.

The main thing is that from 2007 Putin has made great efforts to build relations with Riyadh. Just a few days before

what happened in Istanbul Moscow with the Saudis signed an agreement on building our countries oil production to prevent a price shock to it because of anti-Iran sanctions trump. Well, in such a situation to hurt the partner, but Moscow still believes that the Kingdom may become so for Russia — the unpleasant remarks on the painful for him?

Recall that in the "case Khashoggi" Putin said at the Valdai club:"We have to wait for the results of the investigation... If someone realizes that the murder occurred, and present the evidence, then we'll take steps." And added that Russia is not so much time to build relationships with Saudi Arabia, so suddenly to be broken. Well, got the evidence — and the response was similar to that of the trump... Welcome to the world of real-politics.

Preventing your question about how Riyadh refers to the partnership with Moscow — I have to say: to put it mildly — and have little interest. They do not see Russia as a serious player in the middle East and is not perceived as an equal participant in regional Affairs. Applaud when we voluntarily and without any obligations on their part to act in the same "Iranian issue". And I can promise elementary and "throw" unable openly to interfere. Absolutely fresh example — the refusal of Lebanon from receiving Russian arms, and — fantastically favorable conditions, practically nothing. Moreover, it is quite clear that this decision, Rafik Hariri, Washington and Riyadh was "advised" at the same time. What ended the whole story about the intention of the Saudis to pay for deliveries of Russian weapons to Beirut, which experts last year she was presented as evidence of "growth of Russian influence and President Putin in the middle East".

— Recent talks between Afghan authorities and Taliban leaders... came To Moscow people who before the collapse of the USSR was shot at the Soviet soldiers. In the expert community for Russia's position in the Afghan issue are ambiguous. What counts is the Kremlin? What are his plans for Afghanistan? Imagine it as the return of Russia to Afghanistan?

— Well, let's just remove the emotional component. Yes, they shot at us, but we're in the answer is also not in the cracks hiding everything in that war was very everything. But these are times past. It is clear that without agreements with the Taliban settlement in Afghanistan was impossible. As though ambiguously this movement is not included — but it is. Here, because the choice is not between bad and good but between bad and really bad if it comes to that. In any case, it is clear that the Taliban intend to export their ideology, in contrast to the same ISIS. As for the "Afghan party of the Kremlin", as a number of other cases of foreign policy of Moscow, he suffers from excessive ambition and high self-esteem.

All the fuss of the Ministry of foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and Zamir Kabulov — it is aimed solely to demonstrate to Washington and the rest of Russia's status as a world power, able to solve any most difficult international conflicts. That is, that this notorious "Moscow format" recently appeared, it is necessary to the Russian side for sale their status, security, CSTO and other quite virtual things. Which, if successful, this negotii may kapitaliserede by selling weapons, trade and so on.

The problem is that the rest of the system players this offer the product — to put it mildly, unnecessarily. The same Taliban leadership is more interested in negotiations with the United States or his authorized representative, in the same Tashkent. To his connections with the Russian side and the Taliban fit very pragmatic — they need fuel and some weapons. But Moscow as a leading force in the Afghan settlement, but even more so — as your strategic partner, they simply can not imagine.

Takes a similar position and Kabul. Local elites fiercely squabbling among themselves, but in relation to Russian participation in the peace process retain unanimity — it is totally undesirable, and even more — totally unacceptable Russian mediation in the negotiations with the Taliban. Of course, out of politeness in official statements Kabul sound compliments the Russian side and its "efforts to resolve in Afghanistan." But translated from the diplomatic language into human language it sounds so: "We certainly appreciate your efforts, but absolutely do not need them".

As for the others, China, India, Pakistan, they ask the question: "specific agreements, the efforts of Uzbekistan does not cause rejection, Kabul and the Taliban go with Tashkent on the contact for which the activity here in Moscow?". That is, the "Moscow format" did not have time of infant condition, and to it is formed partly negative, and partly because of the cautious attitude of all whom Russia invited to participate in it. Which, consequently, reduces its chances of success are virtually zero.
You understand, Russia could play a positive role in an Afghan settlement, more profitably. But only if brought my little backed up in this case, ambition and did not seek to lead the process. But unfortunately, to work in team with equal partners is not her style. Foreign policy approaches of the Kremlin — they are from the last century, with all the ensuing consequences...

— Resumed negotiations on the return of the Kuril Islands to Japan. In Japan say "return". Let's be Frank, Igor Nikolaevich, what is offered to the Japanese Kuril Islands? Called a crazy amount you are willing to pay Japan... do You have any reliable information about this? From the side it looks as if the Kremlin is not willing to sell the island...

— I'll be honest — I did not sit under the table where Putin and Abe discussed this topic, so the information I have is no more than a huge number of people who have already spoken on this issue. But here is what I would like to draw your attention. You know, the dialogue with the Japanese on this issue, which started by the Kremlin — it's not about a specific amount. And although they are definitely in this story are present, but are not the main meaningful part of the problem here is that "the money in exchange for territory."

The question is a little different. Russia's foreign policy efforts of our brilliant and uncontested — no — no, and Russia, as they say on TV, the leaders have stalled. No way out is absolutely not expected — well not Crimea back return right word. So Putin is considering this option — to pull Japan out of the ranks "and Russophobes Russianization," to create a hole through which you can show Trump and europejskie commissioners obscene gestures — like, here's the international isolation of Russia! How do you mean — our peace Treaty with Tokyo — trump, Sarkozy, Merkel and others? Bolt, you say, Mr. Bolton, not "toxicity". Well, if it is also big money give — it does aerobatics, it will be possible even a little bit on that? Oh Yes — people, to spend.

Something like that, in my opinion, this "cunning plan" — not vulgar negozia the owner of the commercial stall, and politics.

Just a few days ago on our site published an interview with a young Russian specialist in Asia, specifically in China and Mongolia. She said that practically the country is bought by the Chinese investors. All rich deposits of the country are developed by Chinese companies... I remember when Yeltsin said that "if Russia will sell Mongolia to China, Japan, the Kuril Islands, a few decades will be able to live on that amount." Now, it appears, Mongolia sold to China, and the bargaining over the Kuril Islands is close to completion...

— I can not agree with the fact that the Kuril Islands are all close to completion. I repeat — the decision to "transfer" part of the ridge, apparently, does not cause the Kremlin rejection. Furthermore — there is absolutely no fear of negative reaction to such a move in Russian society. But this is not trading, it's not "sold and bought". Everything here requires a high-quality "packages", that is, a thorough agreement on all aspects. Understand that the point is not quick, is not it so happens that I got up in the morning and already the Kuril Islands from the Japanese. Most likely it starts with "sharing", and then — depending on the situation, i.e. the cat's tail will be cut not once, but in pieces.

— It is clear that none of our conversation with you is not without Iran. We will not break the tradition — so, according to the latest prices on various commodities in the domestic market, including food, in the Islamic Republic continue to grow. The government can't stop inflation. What will happen to Iran after the entry into force of new sanctions of the West? Stand?

— You know, I may be a paradoxical thing to say, but the main issue here is absolutely not in the sanctions of Washington. Here I entirely agree with the Minister of internal Affairs of the Islamic Republic, a respected Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli, who recently rightly observed that the negative effects of sanctions pale in comparison with the damage caused to the country's mismanagement, corruption and various machinations.

That is, the question is not, what sanctions, as they reflected everything else. The question is whether the leadership of the Islamic Republic in a position effectively to oppose them, to effectively work with the country's economy in difficult conditions. That's what, in my opinion, now fundamentally. Iranian society is quite clearly formulated their demands to the authorities: "Yes, we are willing to endure some inconvenience and hardship associated with external pressure on our country. But only if you're up there, be honest, efficient and fair".

In fact, the people of Iran gave his leadership a huge credit of trust, it can be clearly seen in the analysis of the protests in Iran over the map which I'm working on.

Accordingly, the government has a choice — either to use the loan for the benefit of the country, or blindly and stupidly to waste. Honestly, this choice is interesting and fundamental to me now more than the impact of the new sanctions, albeit quite tough.

— Turkey and the EU have agreed that sanctions should not hurt Iran's economy. In fact, Ankara and Brussels have gone against the policies of Washington and frankly "annoy" Israel. This important step can save Iran's economy? How the US will react in your opinion on the agreement of Turkey and the EU?

Let me get this straight — the EU does not go against, and certainly not someone to "annoy" and gave another loud, but completely meaningless Declaration. What exactly is done in relation to Brussels and other European capitals, so widely advertised "special settlement mechanism" for Iran? Nothing but how terribly breathing as waistlevel from the stands what the words were talking about how lightning metal in the direction of Washington and personally our Donald trump!

In short, the louder the Declaration, the lower the political potency, is such a law. The White house is well aware, and calmly react. Recently said one senior American official: "We do not believe such statements are worthy of our attention." Isn't it amazing? To more politely paraphrase a famous expression "problems of Indians of the Sheriff do not excite", probably impossible.

Turkey is in this situation. It will work with Tehran in any case, and together with the EU or without it — for Ankara does not matter. But the most important now for Iran is China's position. But this is another topic, which I am sure we will be back next time.

Interviewed By: Caucasus Lobster


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