B (Bernhard) of Moon Of Alabama posted today a good review of the situation between Qatar and KSA (and others) and this point by him should be explained:
It has friendly relations with Russia. Yesterday the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani talked with President Putin:
Russian-Qatari cooperation, primarily in the trade, economic and investment areas, was discussed, and the results of the meeting of the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission in April 2017 were highly praised.International issues were also discussed. Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s principled position in favor of settling crises by political and diplomatic means, through dialogue.
Translation: Qatar offered additional money for Russia's support. A preliminary deal was made but there was no promise (yet) of full Russian support in a military conflict.
B makes an excellent point here in a sense that, far from being damaging, say for Russia, this Saudi-Qatari conflict may present yet another opportunity for marketing of one of the most potent, if not THE most potent, Russia's export products--geopolitical stabilization. One may ask, what is that. Well, you can see this product now on full display in Syria. Consider now where was Syria and Assad's government two years ago and where it is now. In 2015, despite efforts by Iran and Hizbullah, Syria still struggled with ISIS and the calls to attack Assad were getting louder in Washington. This all changed with Russia Air-Space Forces and Forces of Special Operations (SSO) being deployed to Syria. As Assad himself admitted two days ago: the worst is behind us.
Nobody with even rudimentary sense of reality would debate the fact of Bashar Assad being a pivotal figure for Syria not only for now, but for the future. While thesis (a popular one), that Russia doesn't abandon her allies (which is not entirely true--remember Najibullah), may be used as currently valid explanation for Russia sticking with Assad, there is no denial of the fact here that current Russia is not Soviet Union and she pursues objectives in her foreign policy which are different from those of the USSR. Apart from fostering relations with other nations, Russia, using Corben Dallas' dictum "you play soft, we play soft, you play hard, we play hard", likes not only to be flexible but also to be compensated for what she does, or sells, if one wishes. Russia sells stability and this commodity is hot-hot-hot. Forget about Libya where Russia is already establishing relations with General Haftar, looks like, considering the speed with which Qatari Foreign Minister called Lavrov, Russia is in for the big time and money because Qatar, which is more "competitive" than Russia, surely would love to have this very Russia on her side for a simple reason--Qatar wants to preserve herself (which is only natural) and Russia already has a pretty impressive record of propping up governments which are due for a "regime change".
Cynical? You bet, but can one imagine what price an enormously rich Qatar would be willing to pay to Russia for her making some moves which would stabilize Qatari ruling elite and provide some guarantees? Mind you, there will be more than money involved but a lot, and I mean a lot, of geopolitical favors, including some things related to terrorism, of which Qatar is a big supporter. Corben Dallas stratagem in action--chose you own play, soft or hard. This is how big geopolitical realism is practiced. This is also how nations are stabilized, the contracts and money follow. It is also a great lesson in transition between hard power to a soft one and vice-versa. In the world which is increasingly destabilized due to wholesale crisis of the Pax Americana "system" such an ability is a truly hot commodity.
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