Serious offer or some bold high level trolling?
President Vladimir Putin said while meeting with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Ankara Monday to discuss Syria that the "smart decision" for the Saudis would be to purchase Russia's most advanced anti-air defense system, the S-400 Triumph.
“Saudi Arabia needs to make a smart decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia,” Putin told reporters in Ankara. “These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack.”
As geopolitical analysis blog Moon of Alabama has observed, "Saudi Arabia has no defenses against this kind of attack," and it's also the case that, "The U.S. has no system that could be used for that purpose."
Thus it remains that the Saudis could only possibly turn to Russia to defend against small drones that can easily evade and penetrate most radar defense systems out there.
As the Moon of Alabama analysis concludes, "It would be extremely costly, and still insufficient, to protect all of the Saudi's vital facilities from similar swarm attacks."
When we started the drone war phase I remember thinking what happens when adversaries start deploying drones against us & allies? Stunning we didn't develop defensive systems. But cowboys like playing offense, being on the attack, blowing shit up. Defense by contrast is boring.— Joanne Leon (@joanneleon) September 15, 2019
Putin dropped the hint about the Saudis acquiring the S-400 when asked point blank about the early Saturday major drone attack on the Aramco facilities, citing the need for Riyadh to protect its oil infrastructure. Judging by Rouhani's reaction, Putin's proposal was rather "modest."
The level of trolling of Putin reaches a new high, joking that #SaudiArabia should buy the same S-300 anti-missile defence system that Moscow already sold to Tehran (amid the laughter of Iranian officials, including President Rouhani) | #OOTT #oil #Iran #Russia pic.twitter.com/EcpTG5heAa— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) September 16, 2019
Interestingly, he along with the other two leaders meeting in Ankara this week — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — were all in agreement that the US-Saudi coalition bombing campaign and war on Yemen must be brought to a close as soon as possible.
Rouhani, for his part, said the attack on Aramco facilities was a reciprocal measure by "Yemeni people" to "aggression against Yemen for years."