Bidding on Syria: Saudis Offer Russia Billions for Policy Shift

$15 Billion in Arms Buys, Other Concessions Offered

The Syrian Civil War is more and more a proxy war between various foreign interests each hoping to see a side favorable to them winning. The reality is that those various factions can’t all win, but as the war drags on the various players are trying different methods to shift the situation on the ground.

For Saudi Arabia, this means attempting overt bribery, as reports are emerging that they have offered Russia billions of dollars in concessions in return for a shift away from supporting Bashar Assad.

Details are nebulous so far, but Saudi Arabia would reportedly agree to buy $15 billion in Russian arms in return for Russia reducing its arms shipments to the Syrian military. They would also offer certain concessions on gas exports to avoid competing with Russia’s own export programs.

$15 billion is almost double the usual arms exports Russia gets annually as the US has a virtual monopoly on most of the Middle East. So far there is no indication that Russia is willing to give up their long-standing Syrian alliance for this, but with the bidding open there may be a price that will change their mind.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of