The former Soviet Central Asian republics on the east of the Caspian Sea are Sunni Islam in conflict with Shia Islam in Iran. Russia could make an alliance with Saudi Arabia to invade Iran. That could bring Russia to the Indian Ocean and make Putin a great figure in Russian history. It would also turn the tables on America and Britain in Afghanistan, transforming this into a Russia influence region.
According to the 2009 Census, 70% of the population isMuslim, 26% Christian, 0.1% Buddhists, 0.2% others (mostlyJews), and 3% Irreligious, while 0.5% chose not to answer. According to its Constitution, Kazakhstan is a secular state.
According to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, 93.1% of Turkmenistan’s population is Muslim. Traditionally, the Turkmen ofTurkmenistan, like their kin in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, are Sunni Muslims. Shia Muslims, the other main branch of Islam, are not numerous in Turkmenistan, and the Shia religious practices of theAzerbaijani and Kurdish minorities are not politicized.
Snowden and other deep spying could help Russia pull this off. Russia could convince the Saudis with such deep intel that Obama wants to see Iran get nukes and expand its influence. The US is backing the Shia in Iraq which has to upset the Saudis. It is apparently letting Iran build a huge nuclear processing infrastructure. So the Saudis could proclaim a war against Iran with Russia.
This is draft and preliminary. The above is hypotheses and speculation. Comments and corrections welcome. Please restate as questions. All other disclaimers apply.