by Ben Whedon, Breitbart:
Saudi and Russian officials Tuesday announced the signing of military cooperation pact between the two countries.
Saudi Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman announced the agreement via Twitter, stating it would aid in “developing joint military cooperation between the two countries.” In a second tweet, he elaborated on his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu, in which the pair explored ways to “strengthen the military and defense cooperation between our two countries.”
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Met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to explore ways to strengthen the military and defense cooperation between our two countries. We discussed our common endeavor to preserve stability and security in the region, and reviewed shared challenges facing our countries. pic.twitter.com/T7lVdITZPt
— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) August 23, 2021
“We aim for a progressive development of cooperation in military and military-technical fields on the entire spectrum of issues that pose mutual interest,” Shoigu said, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).
Neither signatory party specified any of the deal’s terms, but RFERL noted the signing occurred outside of an arms expo in Moscow. Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter aside from the United States while Saudi Arabia is the number one state purchaser of military hardware.
The United States has historically been a major supplier of weapons to the Saudi monarchy. Former President Donald Trump maintained close ties with Riyadh, aiming to bolster the regime against Iran. His arms sales to the Saudis prompted congressional rebuke and Trump subsequently vetoed measures to block arms sales to the country. President Joe Biden, however, reversed course and suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this year.
Russia’s outreach to an agitated U.S. ally also follows Biden’s decision to extend the Afghan War for an extra four months, breaking a deal Trump brokered that would have resulted in an organized military withdrawal by May 1. Biden’s August 31 deadline – on which he has since doubled down – has prompted tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and allied Afghans to swarm Kabul’s international airport in light of a Taliban takeover of the country last week. Thousands remain trapped in the country as of press time following the Taliban’s successful conquest of Kabul and the evaporation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s forces.