The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman shocked the world by predicting a war against Iran within 10 years. Preparing for this war, Riyadh seeks to strengthen its positions in Central Asia to create a ring of allied countries around Iran, just like NATO did with Russia since the Berlin Wall came down.
Saudi Arabia’s expansion plan in post-Soviet space is likely to be successful, given the generosity, with which the Arabian monarchy spends its petrodollars. The ultimate goal for Saudi Arabia at this point is to isolate Iran.
The young and vigorous Crown Prince has already announced large-scale plans to build a city on the coast of the Red Sea for $500 billion and invest $64 billion in the entertainment industry in the next 10 years.
The weakest link in Central Asia is Kyrgyzstan. This country has no oil and gas reserves and the deficit in the country’s budget grows constantly. Kyrgyzstan counts on generous Saudi investment and loans.
The Saudis have been gradually strengthening their ties with Uzbekistan lately as well. In the near future, the sides will sign new agreements in the field of trade, economy, science and technology. The President of Kazakhstan also highly values friendship with the richest monarchy of the Persian Gulf..
The Saudi monarch promised to invest heavily in the oil and gas production and processing industries. However, it is Azerbaijan that is likely to become Saudi Arabia’s most important strategic ally in the region.
The reason is simple: Azerbaijan borders on Iran. In addition, almost 40% of Iran’s population – about 30 million people – are ethnic Azerbaijanis. There are many tourists from Saudi Arabia in Azerbaijan, who make lavish purchases to pleasantly surprise local vendors.
Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to have recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991. It was Riyadh that helped Baku in the construction and restoration of more than 220 mosques in Azerbaijan.
Saudi Arabia has reportedly been trying to persuade Azerbaijan to become its military ally in the confrontation with Iran. However, President Ilham Aliyev explained the Saudis that Azerbaijan was a member of the “Non-Aligned Movement”, which means that Azerbaijan refuses to participate in military alliances.
Today, Azerbaijan maintains equally warm relations both with Tehran and Iran’s sworn enemy – Israel. To crown it all, Azerbaijan may gain considerable profit from developing friendship with Saudi Arabia.
Most likely, Baku will continue the line of economic and energy cooperation with Riyadh without making any steps that may complicate Azerbaijan’s stable relations with Iran.
Pravda / AA-Magnum News 2018.