"The small Satan and the big Satan" - Khomeini got it right 36 years before lackluster folks like ourselves

Russia will crush Al Qaeda and FSA, defend Bashar al-Assad until its last breath, establish an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem have been the kind of choruses reverberating across the anti-imperial community all over Facebook and Twitter.

In Russia, the militaristic and orthodox Cossacks for whom the mandatory precondition for joining the Cossack group is belief in "Christ" have "immortalized" the Russian leader in a Roman emperor-style bronze statue after the annexation of Crimea early 2014. 

Much of that jarring jazz blends with an overtone.  The West has been frowning over Mr. Putin's participation in the showdown in Syria .. or so we are told.  But the truth doesn't quite reflect that, not in the context oft reported.  Despite the proclaimed fuss, the U.S. and its Middle-Eastern allies including Saudi Arabia aren't really perturbed at all.  Many Arabs are of the opinion that "Putin was Assad's best choice."  He certainly was Assad's 'best choice.'  A drowning man would clutch at anything, even a serpent.  But the story does not end here.  Al-Qaeda (ISIL & ANF) has been an evil necessity for the White House that has left Obama dithering for a long time.  Under the circumstances, Mr. Putin shouldering this messy issue is also the *best choice* of  U.S. and NATO.  They know he has imperial ambitions like themselves, but not to worry.  He no longer has a strong economy to support those fanciful aspirations.  Though he has absolute power within his country as did the former Czar Nicolas II, his resources are a trickle compared to the Romanov era.  And unlike Nicolas II, Putin is pro-Semite and proud of Russia's anti-Nazi history.  

There are no good reasons for his Western counterparts to distrust the Russian leader.  Might as well utilize him to do the dirty work ... as far as national interest allows him to proceed.  It would also help to downplay their own (though largely feigned) military intervention against IS, putting Russia on the terrorists' line of fire, while at the same time acquiring the advantages of Russian air strikes under the cover of criticism.  Gimmicks like Britain one step closer to war with Russia after giving RAF the green light to shoot hostile Russian jets in Syria need to be taken as little beyond political entertainment news by Western propagandists aimed at gaining international sympathy/support for booting out the Syrian government using Russia as a tool.  If RAF shoots down a Russian jet and starts a war and if the US perceives no future benefits for itself in such a scenario (which it won't), it will not be loyally protective of Britain and no way will Britain enter a war alone .. maybe in tiny Falklands, never with Russia.

Other than a few disgruntled whispers, the House of Saud has been equally complacent.  True that most of Saudi Arabia's military needs are provided by the US.  But the Sauds have made other inroads and entrenched further to lessen their dependency on the US.  In August 2015 the Saudi FM made intensive contacts with senior Russian military officials for a wide range of military armaments including the deadly Iskander ballistic missile systems with a range of 500km and capability for carrying 700kg of various warheads.  Moscow Top News confirmed Saudi Arabia signing contracts for buying a bunch of different Russian military hardware that includes "combat helicopters, T-90C tanks, armored vehicles and anti-aircraft missile systems. The deal approximately totals $2 billion."  With unjust sanctions clamped on Russia over the Ukraine episode and the ruble steadily falling, the Russian government is in dire need of attractive contracts  from wealthy countries.  Principles and fair play are the last things to get hung up on.

Along side US weapons, the Saudi/Russian arms deals have definitely played a significant role in the destruction of Yemen.  While you rightly applaud Russia for blasting ISIL in Syria, the Saudis are flattening Yemen with similar hardware, much of it purchased from the same military. 

As little as five days after its official military intervention in Syria, the Kremlin welcomed a senior Saudi delegation for talks on cooperating in the Syrian war.  The Saudi FM recapitulated his country's position - "Assad's resignation" - to a silent Putin who is supposed to be bombing Syrian rebels to help Assad survive.  Same day Mr. Putin had a cordial meeting with the crown prince of UAE, a country supportive of the Syrian opposition and is ravaging Yemen after joining the Saudi coalition that started a preemptive war in March 2015.  One might be curious to know what exactly was the purpose of these meetings with the arch enemies of Syria?  It surely wasn't about ending the war, closing the borders nor Saudi Arabia declaring a neutral policy.

It would be naive to repudiate that a substantial bulk of high powered weapons and armaments currently supplied by Saudi Arabia to the "Free Syrian Army" and Jaish al-Fatah aren't Russian-made.  Contemplating logically, the framework isn't a whole lot different from US military airdropping "50 tons of small arms ammo and grenades in norther Syria on Sunday," reported by Fox News as "Pentagon's shift from training rebel fighters to equipping them."  While FSA receives its smaller perks directly via US military, it gets the heavier US and Russian armaments indirectly through Saudi Arabia.  The SAA is not the only beneficiary of Russia's 'compassionate' policies.

Of course Putin never gave any reasons to assume he was madly in love with Assad.  He is only focused on thwarting Al-Qaeda's international agenda of a 'caliphate' spilling into Chechnya and possibly other parts of Russia.  The Syrian rebels on the other hand, though almost just as radical, are fighting for ousting the Syrian government and staying within Syria.  Vladi Puts is thoroughly comfortable with that.  Whatever happens to Assad eventually was never his concern.  The Kremlin has been cleverly balancing its relations between Assad and the SNC;  whichever of the two finally wins, Moscow will only require to continue its diplomacy and trade links.