Russian intervention in Syria in direct support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stood directly against Saudi regional strategic interests. and Russia now taking the lead on diplomatic initiatives to end the conflict, such as the southern de-escalation zone, Russia working with Turkey and Iran through the Astana process, and France working on its conference diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and other “stakeholders” in the conflict have largely been excluded.
Therefore, growing economic engagement with the Russians supports Riyadh’s attempts to diversify its international arms suppliers but also adds significant weight and political goodwill behind the Kingdom’s attempts to resolve Syria. Saudi Arabia is therefore coming around to seeing that a solution on Syria is only feasible through Moscow which controls many of the facts on the ground.
During the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017 launch, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “thousands of women and children in different parts of the world are being trafficked, which is a form of modern slavery.” The report’s launch was attended by President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
As Riyadh experiences further terror attacks, the most recent being a foiled attack outside the royal palace in Jeddah, that will not be a difficult leap to make.
However, what may prove to be more problematic is the ability of Saudi Arabia to shape Russian foreign policy such as getting a seat at the negotiating table to fit its own ends, including deciding on the mechanism that gives the voice back to the Syrian society.
According to ‘Agence France Presse’, the State Department report indicated the levels of human trafficking in the world, and stated that there are countries recognizing the existence of the problem on their territories and seeking to solve it, while others recognized but did not take any step to reduce or eradicate this problem.
The third group of countries includes those that neither recognize nor seek to resolve the human trafficking crisis, including Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.
The US report criticized Iran’s exploitation of the trafficking victims, including children, by sending them to fight in Syria and Iraq.