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The United States ruined the USSR economy with Saudi oil: Will Washington repeat this trick now?

Date: April 14, 2024 Time: 20:47:27

The once poor “land of sand” is growing. Some skyscrapers in Riyadh are true architectural masterpieces

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV

In the last days of winter I was able to visit Saudi Arabia, one of the hottest countries in the world. And recently, also one of the most anti-Russian in the entire Middle East. In the 1980s, the mujahideen were trained here to shoot our boys in the back in Afghanistan, and in the 1990s they secretly supported Caucasian militants. However, now the opposite is true: Saudi Arabia is Moscow’s reliable partner both in the region and in the oil market. How was this possible? To answer, we will have to delve into recent history…


Mid-1980s. The outcome of the Cold War is far from certain. The United States is experiencing serious social and racial contradictions, but the USSR, on the contrary, is number one in the world according to some industry and energy indicators.

Well, the then owner of the White House, President Ronald Reagan, is an actor and a fraud, but he is surrounded by smart advisors. They discover the Soviet Union’s Achilles heel: dependence on growing oil and gas exports to the West. Revenue from fuel sales allows the pre-crisis USSR to stay afloat and smooth out deficits by purchasing goods and products, including grain, in capitalist countries.

Washington traditionally has good relations with other large producers of “black gold” – the emirates of the Persian Gulf. They and the Americans consider themselves allies in the fight against the “communist threat,” as well as neighboring Iran, where an anti-monarchy revolution recently broke out in 1979.

And in 1985-86, CIA chief William Casey conducted secret negotiations with senior officials in Saudi Arabia. The mediator is the long-term ambassador of this state to the United States, Prince Bandar (he was a personal friend of Reagan’s associates, future presidents: George Bush father and son).

Throughout Riyadh there is a grandiose subway construction project, like in Moscow in 1935. To combat traffic jams in the kingdom’s capital, the subway is promised to open this year

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV

There are only two points in the secret plan. First: Saudi Arabia is involved in training the mujahideen to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan (very convenient, the White House has nothing to do with it, doing the dirty work with someone else’s hands). And second: the Kingdom is considerably increasing oil production. In the Middle East it is shallow and it is easier to increase production quickly than here in Siberia or on the Arctic shelf.

Yes, the Saudis are also suffering a new drop in the prices of “black gold”. In exchange, the United States offers them a bonus: a “military ceiling” for their share. Soon, in 1987, the construction of the joint Saudi-American base King Khalid was completed in the Arab desert, one of the largest military facilities in the Middle East, with capacity for 65 thousand soldiers and civilian specialists.

The “external threat” was not a myth: in 1990, the restive neighbor to the north, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, was able to briefly occupy another oil emirate of the same type: Kuwait.

But back to Reagan and the CIA’s games in the Middle East. Of course, a sudden “market oversupply” causes oil prices to plummet; a barrel, which then cost 30 dollars, began to be sold three times cheaper. The USSR’s losses in 1986 alone amounted to $20 billion, or more than seven percent of projected budget revenues.

This, along with the losses in Afghanistan, is believed to have been one of the straws that broke the Soviet camel’s back.

In the question of women in the Kingdom everything is fine; Under Prince Bin Salman, the fair sex had the same rights as men

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV


To put it mildly, the hostile steps from Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom, towards Moscow did not end there. The 90s and the war in Chechnya arrived. Certain forces in Saudi Arabia (“surprisingly,” they had strong ties to the United States) supported international terrorists.

This was facilitated by a specific local version of Islam, which assumed a literal interpretation of the fundamentals of the faith. For example, if the Quran says that “the punishment for adultery (sex outside of marriage) is 100 to 200 lashes or lashes,” then this rule should apply exactly like that in modern life. And religious radicals from different parts of the world easily find a common language, whether it is the Arabian desert or the North Caucasus.

And the final chord: in the early 2010s, some figures in Riyadh openly supported the attempt at a “color revolution” against our ally, Syria’s legitimate president, Bashar al-Assad. From publications of those years: with Saudi money a batch of old Yugoslavian grenade launchers was bought in Croatia and delivered to the Syrian “fighters for democracy”…

February 26, 2024. A female MP speaks at the Kingdom’s Advisory Council to discuss the road safety law

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV

The “issue” was supervised by the aforementioned “friend of the Bushes”: Prince Bandar. He also knew a lot about the CIA operation, codenamed “Timber Sycamore”, in which, even with technical support from Riyadh, thousands of anti-Assad militants were trained and sent to Syria…

But it is not in vain that an entire verse is dedicated to “restoring justice” in the Quran. In 2017, a progressive prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, comes to power in Saudi Arabia (the structure of the crowned family is complex; the de jure ruler is his father, King Salman; but he will soon turn 90 and depends largely on measure of the young heir).

And the changes begin. Also in 2017, Riyadh abruptly stopped supporting the Syrian opposition, Operation Sycamore Tree was scaled back, and the elderly Prince Bandar was removed from all positions (although formally, of course, “by age”: this grandfather is the same age as the soldier of the Cold War). , born in 1949).

At the same time, ties with the Kremlin are strengthening. Prince Mohammed regularly travels to Moscow and President Vladimir Putin regularly travels to Riyadh: the last time, in December 2023. Receiving the Russian leader after the start of the Northern Military District, when the US State Department is hanging the phones, trying to achieve “diplomatic isolation of the Russian Federation”, is a very serious act.

The middle class lives in houses like this. White barrels on the roofs: free water heating under the 50-degree summer sun

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV

Finally, in the spring of 2023, after a long conflict, Saudi Arabia normalized its relations with Iran (although more recently, due to differences in Islamic doctrine, between the Kingdom and the Republic it almost came to war). And as of this year, both countries have been accepted into BRICS, an alternative international bloc to the West. Of course, all this will not happen without the participation of China and Russia, which have good relations with both Tehran and Riyadh.


And now, in 2024, together with the Russian delegation I found myself in the cradle of Islam, where the holy cities of Mecca and Medina for Muslims are located – Saudi Arabia. The once-closed kingdom is quietly issuing tourist visas!

And it is preparing to eclipse Dubai and other wonders of the Middle East. In Riyadh, skyscrapers are growing, subway tunnels are being dug rapidly; A high-speed train was launched between Mecca and Medina: 450 kilometers in two hours.

In the west of the country, a grandiose “linear city” is being built, the largest building in the world called “The Line.” A kind of wall in the desert 170 kilometers long, 800 meters wide and 500 meters high, where 9 million people will live in an artificial microclimate. Utopia? The first stage, cleaning and compacting the foundation, has been completed along its entire length and is visible from space. They promise to complete the wonder of the world by 2030, the budget is 1 trillion dollars, the main inspirer is personally Prince Mohammed.

Well, this build is still in its early stages. But the changes in society during the seven years of the new leader’s reign have been striking. Ibn Salman, without abandoning traditional values, is building a “moderate Islam.”

In Riyadh, after a long pause, a cinema reopens and the first musical concert by a singer is held; girls are allowed to get a driver’s license and travel abroad without the permission of their husband or her father… Until recently, all this was inaccessible!

Finally, the “fatwas committee” (religious regulations), at the prince’s behest, officially allowed people to go out on the streets without hijab, a traditional Islamic cloak. Yes, I have seen women with bare hair in the city center. But of course I didn’t take any photos: “invasion of privacy” is not welcome here.

Despite such liberalization, Ibn Salman shows toughness in the external sphere. American politicians, including President Biden himself, are flocking to the Kingdom, proposing to carry out the “Reagan maneuver” of 40 years ago: collapsing oil prices to deprive Russia of revenue. After all, Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of “black gold” among OPEC countries…

Women in Saudi Arabia participate in politics, sit and speak in parliament

Photo: Edward CHESNOKOV

But we are not in the 80s. The new kings do not want to kill themselves to please the United States; after all, they can’t even offer anything in return except threats and sanctions. “The Kremlin and the Royal House are in collusion to control the energy market… Prince Mohammed is helping Russia make money from high oil prices” – Western commentators write about such panic-filled texts.

Of course, there is no need to present the new generation of Arab leaders as inveterate “friends of Russia.” Literally a couple of days after our visit, a large Ukrainian delegation arrived in Riyadh and shook hands the same way we did. Eastern courtesy!

But, in any case, these partners are much more convenient for Russia than Washington or Brussels, which for 9 years broke all their promises and brought the situation in Ukraine to a hot war.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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