Illarionov offers additional arguments that Putin is planning to attack Saudi Arabia

The aftermath of air strikes by a Russian plane in Tabliseh, Syria, on 30 September 2015 YouTube (Image: independent.co.uk)

The aftermath of air strikes by a Russian plane in Tabliseh, Syria, on 30 September 2015 YouTube (Image: independent.co.uk) 

2015/11/20 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis, Russia

Yesterday, Andrey Illarionov laid out the logic behind his suggestion that Vladimir Putin is preparing to attack Saudi Arabia in order to destabilize and possibly dismember it.

Andrey Illarionov, Russian economist and former economic policy advisor to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Currently, a senior fellow in the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC

Andrey Illarionov, Russian economist and former economic policy advisor to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Currently, a senior fellow in the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC

Not surprisingly, that suggestion precisely because it would involve an action few have thought possible immediately sparked a vociferous reaction in Moscow and elsewhere. And so today, the Moscow analyst provides additional arguments on behalf of his conclusion.

As he did yesterday and has done before, Illarionov lays out his argument point by point. In this case, he offers 10 additional detailed discussions that he says force the conclusion that Putin’s new war “will be directed not only and not so much against ISIS” as “against Saudi Arabia” with the goals being its “destabilization and–it can’t be excluded–its dismemberment.”

  1. “In the course of the historic session of the ‘force politburo’ of the Russian Federation November 16-17,” Russia’s FSB secret police chief Aleksandr Bortnikov focused on the origins of the explosives that blew up the plane over Sinai rather than on who carried out the attack, thus at a minimum confusing the issue concerning who was responsible by “intensifying suspicions that arose earlier” about that.
  2. Bortnikov also stressed that the bomb itself was “self-acting” rather than the work of a suicide bomber, a conclusion of course supported by ISIS claims earlier the same day and one that again has the effect of spreading the blame for the bombing beyond Islamic State activists. The FSB chief insisted that Russian experts had established this independently.
  3. Popular business magazine “Kommersant” carried a story suggesting parallels between the 1999 bombings and the downing of the plane, a potentially dangerous one for the Kremlin if people conclude that it might have been behind both but useful to Putin because the Russian security experts the paper cited mentioned “nameless ‘people from the North Caucasus’” as being to blame once again. And these “experts” recalled “the names of those who ‘prepared those who carried out the terrorist acts’ –‘Khattab and his right-hand Abu al-Walid.’” And what “a surprise!” Illarionov says. “Both of the named individuals as is well known were from Saudi Arabia.”
  4. “The appearance in Russian anti-terrorist discourse of Saudi Arabia and the absence in Putin’s commentaries… of any reference to ISIS hardly can be considered accidental,” the analyst continues. The Kremlin leader talked about unnamed “criminals” rather than being more specific even in terms of suspicions, a marked contrast to analysts in the West who have pointed to ISIS as behind this attack.
  5. Despite not naming anyone, Putin nonetheless promised to take the harshest measures immediately to “find and punish the criminals.” “In other words,” Illarionov says, “Putin declared that there will be conducted extra-judicial reprisals over unknown persons without offering any evidence of their guilt or even their connection with the catastrophe of the Russian jet.” And he added that these reprisals will be carried out “with the help ‘of people who share our moral values.” Given what happened after 1999, one can only imagine what that means.
  6. Putin announced that Moscow would step up its air raids in Syria without presenting any “cause and effect link” between those in Syria and the airplane disaster. Russian commentators and many Western ones have accepted his logic without any questions about his failure to provide a link or to follow “the basic principles of the Western legal tradition – the presumption of innocence, the need to present evidence of their guilt to the accused, court hearings… [and] the right of the accused to a defense.”
  7. In this way and by attacking people before identifying them as guilty, “Putin in a completely Freudian way demonstrated not only the lack of evidence of their guilt … but the absence of any desire to find it.”
  8. “Despite such a demonstrative violation by the Russian authorities of the basic principles of Western (and now all-human) legal tradition, the expansion of the Kremlin’s use of force won the approval from the side of the current American president: ‘Barak Obama declared that he has always supported the struggle of Russia against… ISIS.’”
  9. All of this, Illarionov points out, follows what has become “the Putin model of unleashing large (open and not hybrid) wars (the second Chechen and the Russian-Georgian).” First, provocations, then terrorist acts, then the loss of innocent life, then finding one’s opponents guilty without evidence, loud promises to destroy them, the physical destruction of the opponents Putin has identified, and then “an essential change in the domestic or geopolitical situation.”
  10. “Nevertheless, the war of 2015 in comparison with the former large wars of 1999 and 2008 is different in certain key ways.” It is conducted far beyond Russia’s borders. Unlike the earlier conflicts, “the beginning of the third war is openly supported by the West and the Obama Administration is ready to greet it with ovations.” And the new war is directed at a country Moscow has long blamed for supporting terrorist actions against Russia, Saudi Arabia.

“In large measure,” Illarionov says, “this is not a new war but a continuation directed at the defeat” of an enemy Putin has long had in his mind. And that enemy is Saudi Arabia. If Putin does attack and succeeds in defeating or even dismembering that country, he will achieve “the radical reordering of the entire contemporary world as we have known it.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • OlenaG

    Sorry I read the previous article and now this one. The author shows a total, complete ignorance of Islam. He puts forth that Putin is going to attack the strong hold of Sunni Islam, the keeper of the two MOST HOLY places (Medina and Mecca) for Islam, the risk of pissing off over 1 BILLION Muslims with out consequences. Either the author, Putin or both are ignorant of the Muslim population within the Russia Federation. Putin is not that stupid.

    • Forgotten Ghost

      I just read something that might be of interest, regarding Paris. I think it ties into what this narrative is suggesting. In short, this author sees a connection that I also suspect, and a lot of people appear to have missed. The site is jim-stone-(dot)-is.
      Remove the dash marks, and use a period instead of “dot” of course.

      While the guy has some ideas I don’t agree with, there are certain things he draws attention to that shouldn’t be missed. It might help you understand a possible reason for this “attack SA and Qatar” thing.

    • Oknemfrod

      By “author”, you must mean Mr. Illarionov – here, Paul Goble is merely retelling what Illarionov has written elsewhere. Illarionov is an astute guy but he has this penchant for conspiracy theories not unlike this one. I agree that Putin won’t dare touch SA for many reasons, including the ones you’ve cited but mainly because it’s impossible logistically (and most likely militarily, provided that we’re talking about the conventional means only). On the other hand, the dwarf has already been bombing Sunnis in Syria and has thus clearly dragged Russia into the Sunni-Shia religious conflict on the Shia side, which certainly bears the risk of alienating 1 billion plus Sunnis, including those residing in Russia. This, in itself, is enormously stupid, albeit perhaps less so than he would need to be to attack SA.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        The dwarf will atack SA if he believes he will get away with it. He attacked Georgia, annexed parts (de facto if not de jure) and got away with it. He invaded the Crimea, annexed it and got away with it. Next, he started and supported a war in the Donbas and largely got away with it- the sanctions are little more than a slap on the wrist.
        Attacking SA will be rather more difficult given the distance between Dwarfstan and SA and the limited facilities at Latakia, but he has recently been bombing in Syria with strategic bombers.
        Why strategic bombers????
        Because they potentially have the range to attack SA with a significant payload. Furthermore, they probably can carry air-launched cruise missiles, which an Su-24 or Su-25 can’t. All the dwarf has to do is launch his ALCM’s at SA to strike the oil industry and the oil price will go up, especially if significant damage is inflicted.
        The flaw is, of course, that he thinks he will get away with anything. So far the west has done next to nothing to convince him otherwise. Of course, if the west decides to boycott his oil because of strikes against SA, he achieves the opposite of what he wants; even if the oil price trebles, he won’t be getting a cent- and he will be a lot worse off. No oil money at all and guaranteed hostility of nearly all of the Sunni muslim world.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The dwarf is desperate for so. He has been stalemated in the Donbas and his $$$$ are running out. Finance Minister Siluanov stated in the Duma recently that Dwarfstan’s reserve funds will be empty by the end of next year. He needs the oil price to go up to well over $100, but that isn’t likely for quite some time.
      Even more worrying for Moscow is that Saudi Arabia and Qatar intend to drive Dwarfstan’s oil from the EU market by undercutting its minimum price, something they can easily do. When that happens, Moscow will have to cut the state budget even more. Nobody will lend Moscow money thanks to the sanctions, certainly not in the west. Peking might, but if it does it will be on Peking’s terms- and they won’t be mate’s rates.
      The only way the oil price wil go up is if a major supplier e.g. Saudi Arabia is taken out of the equation. Given the dire straits Dwarfstan will be in by the end of next year, the dwarf will have two choices:
      – withdraw from Donbas and the Crimea, thus ending the sanctions, and ending his involvement in Syria. Unlikely given his nature, loss of face in the Middle East and the fury of the nationalists at home- he is already under fire because the nationalists feel he is not doing enough for the so-called LNR and DNR..
      – or, try and get the oil price over $100. This is the most likely route he will choose. Remember that he has already sent Foreign Minister Lozhvrov to Riad for discussions with the Saudis, but without success. Lozhvrov was caught on camera during the post-talks press conference saying “Debili….. blyad”, clearly an expression of his frustration with the Saudis, who wouldn’t oblige. Moscow has also been talking to ally Venezuela, which also requires the oil price to go over $100. Iran is desperate for $$$ after several years of sanctions and needs to sell every barrel of oil it can.
      So, he’s left with eliminating an oil supplier by force- and what “better” target that SA, who caused the price drop in the first place?
      It may not make sense to you, but we’re not dealing with a rational sane person here- we’re dealing with a third-rate, frustrated, desperate Chekist of limited intelligence who thinks he can get away with everything.

    • Mykola Banderachuk

      oh yeah, putin is that stupid

  • Dirk Smith

    Anything is possible when you’re dealing with a mentally ill megalomaniac who is running out of money and options.

  • miguel

    The Kremlin are great at false flags and lies throughout their media.
    If the Kremlin can set up the perfect storm where he can challenge SA, Qatar, and a few other of the Western aligned Middle Eastern countries that are keeping oil high, he will.
    A tool vova and the Kremlin might use is the war in Yemen.
    SA is a large player in that conflict.
    IF Russia can create some rational excuse and confuse western media by using his own propagandists, he could march with Iranian and Syrian forces (maybe France and Egypt too? Maybe Libyan? Maybe Lebanese or Palestinian?) to create some kind of Islamic Holy War.

    They have been lying with their MoD satellite presentations a lot.

    One guess would be them saying they are tracking a missile from SA into Iran ( although it is just a suitcase nuke Iran has from the Kremlin ) and it destroyed one of Iran’s ‘peaceful’ and used for medical research and power nuke facilities that is right outside a large city.
    Iran declares war on SA, with Russian backing.
    Or maybe some Daesh fighter brings a Russian suitcase bomb (although Russian media within 10 minutes of it happening proclaim it is a SA suitcase) completely wipes out a large Yemen city.

    The depths vova will go to bring oil prices back up, demonize the West and its allies, create confusion, use its propaganda media for lies, and its MoD have all been seen by the world recently.
    We know about the apartment bombings, we know about the Chechen wars, we know about his support and sending Strelkov to Serbia to prop up their stooge there.

    A SA attack is possible, but it could backfire big time, especially if the FSB agents are caught.