The Arabs and the Russian-Ukrainian war

The Ukrainian-Russian war (Photo by Shutterstock)
This article looks at how different countries, especially those in the Middle East, took positions regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war. Ahmed Abdul-Rahman explains.

The former Soviet Union took under its control a diaspora of regions and republics that had been revolving in its orbit since the end of World War I. This was confirmed by the relative victory of Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, after World War II.

The Stalinist era was marked by the strength of the Russian grip on the countries that fell under the banner of the former Soviet Union. As such, these countries were organically integrated into the Soviet Union, until it disintegrated in the early 90s of the 20th century. The Iraqi-Iranian war also ended at this time. This was preceded by the withdrawal of Russian forces from Afghanistan. Also, the Soviet Union, which was ruling with an iron fist, became weaker than before.

Moustafa El-Fiqi, an Egyptian writer and researcher, says: "The value of what we write appears to be that we are trying to identify the reasons behind the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, especially since the new tsar of Moscow is an intelligence officer with long experience since he was head of the Russian station in East Berlin. He felt that like many of the sons of the Russian military, the Soviet republics that disintegrated are tantamount to a major insult to the largest country, which is the Russian Federation, and memories of the tsars and their broad history accumulated in his mind, especially Peter the Great, who is considered the ideal of Vladimir Putin."

Al-Fiqi adds: "Therefore, I am sure that the entry of the Russian forces into Ukraine is a reaction to these suppressed feelings and a sense of humiliation from what happened to the Soviet Union and its sudden collapse. This resulted in the diminishing of Russia's status after it was one of the two greatest powers to become a major European country. One of the third world countries, but with a strong military arsenal that still gives it momentum and value in military forums and political meetings at the international level."

What will happen with the Russian-Ukrainian war?

The Western and American goal is that the period of military confrontation in Ukraine by the Russians will be prolonged and that these battles will become a quagmire that will deplete Russian capabilities and lead to a weakening of Moscow's role for years to come.

And what will the role of Arab countries in the war be?

The position of the UAE differs among the Arab Gulf countries, and Egypt's position sometimes appears two-faced because of its desire for neutrality. It objects to the invasion in the UN Security Council yet agrees with the Russian position in the UN General Assembly.

This is in addition to the possibility of the Arab countries using the energy card, especially the Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, to highlight the importance of the Arab role in this conflict, which includes dangers regarding the use of nuclear weapons, especially by Russia.

It also seems that Russian expectations have been different from what has actually happened. This is because Russia was under the illusion that it would be a quick military outing in which the Russian army would achieve a resounding victory. Some parts of Ukraine were annexed less quickly than was expected, thereby helping to ensure the safety of its borders and territorial integrity. However, the Ukrainian forces showed great resistance, and received help from NATO and other countries in the West. amplifying their moral superiority.

The issue of Ukraine's possible accession to NATO is another scenario. Arab capitals received the news of the fighting on the Ukrainian-Russian front with great concern and embarrassment. This is because most of the Arab countries have relations with Moscow, the Russian capital and Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. Therefore, the Arab countries have not taken a unified position, given that from a Western point of view, the Russian intervention and its transgression of borders makes what happened an external invasion of a neighbouring independent country.

However, the Russians believe that they are preserving their territorial borders and are carrying out a preemptive operation before NATO does. Putin has repeated more than once that it was the hostile West that caused the current situation which has resulted in aggressive intentions by Russian.

The Western-European and American reaction has been characterised by a huge package of sanctions against the Russian Federation. Russia says this is one of the main reasons for its escalation of the confrontation.

The positions of European countries have also varied regarding the conflict. The British position is anti-Russian, while the German and French positions are more moderate.

Beyond Europe, Iran supports Moscow, and China's position is characterised by a general acceptance of Moscow's policy.  India is also working to achieve the greatest amount of economic gains from the war, including the energy crisis that has emanated from it.

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Sunday, 26 March 2023