The Failed Saudi-Russian Talks: Desperate Diplomacy as Syria Implodes


Correction appended: Aug. 12, 2013, 2:05 a.m. E.T.

You could call it the Hail Mary pass of diplomatic relations. In a desperate attempt to find some solution to the ongoing Syria crisis, now in its third year with no end in sight, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan reportedly offered Russian President Vladimir Putin a multibillion-dollar arms deal to curb Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad when they met in Moscow last week. The deal was rebuffed; on Friday the Kremlin responded to news accounts about the proposal with a terse rebuttal, telling Reuters that no deal had been discussed in detail. Earlier news accounts, including the one from Reuters, quoted unnamed Arab and Western diplomats describing a deal in which Saudi Arabia would buy some $15 billion worth of Russian weapons in addition to offering assurances that Gulf countries wouldn’t threaten…

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