It was a masterful piece of trolling by the czar of trolls – a snide, disparaging jibe with an element of truth twisted into absurdity for maximum effect and laughs. At a joint press conference with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Ankara on Monday, Putin cast his bait into the volatile Persian Gulf region just days after devastating attacks on Saudi oil facilities exposed the limits of the Gulf kingdom’s expensive defense systems.
Amazing — in a summit with two of Saudi Arabia’s archrivals in the region, Putin says Riyadh should buy Russia air defense to protect its infrastructure against any attacks. All while the Iranian foreign minister & president are giggling. pic.twitter.com/s2nP0HHeYr— Hassan Hassan (@hxhassan) September 16, 2019
“We’re ready to help Saudi Arabia to protect their people,” said Putin, flanked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani. Ensconced in a front-row seat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s jovial foreign minister, grinned expectantly, waiting for a weaponised Russian joke.
Zarif was not to be disappointed.
Referring to the Saudis, Putin continued: “And they need to make a clever decision, as Iran did by buying our S-300, and as Mr. Erdogan did by deciding to buy the most advanced S-400 Triumph air defense systems from Russia,” he added with a smirk.
“These kinds of systems are capable of defending any kind of infrastructure in Saudi Arabia from any kind of attack,” finished Putin, as Rouhani convulsed with giggles and even the normally dour Erdogan broke into a smile.
As a ripple of laughter erupted across the room, Rouhani jokingly asked Putin which system would he recommend, the S-300 or the S-400? “They can choose,” he replied.
Putin’s barb was aimed at multiple targets, including the failure of the US security shield, President Donald Trump’s policies in the region and Washington’s reputation as an undependable ally. (end of excerpt)
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