Saudi Arabia is proposing a sweeping deal to Russia that solidifies Moscow’s position in the Middle East and Persian Gulf largely at the expense of the United States, according to informed Egyptian security officials.
The deal incorporates increased Russian involvement in Egypt, Syria and the Persian Gulf, and even involves a Saudi guarantee to aid against terror plots targeting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Egyptian officials said the deal seeks to replace the U.S. with Russia as the major weapons dealer to Egypt.
However, the weapons sales to Cairo are only the tip of the potential re-balancing iceberg that follows a major fallout with the Saudis after President Obama’s outreach efforts to Iran.
The Saudis asked for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Riyadh would help establish a permanent central Russian role in the future of Syria, with a military presence in the country, the officials said.