Report: Russia in the Middle East: The Harmony of Polyphony


The Middle East is increasingly important in the fabric of international relations. Developments there have greater consequences for the rest of the world than in the Cold War era. This is not primarily due to the destabilizing impulses that keep the region on centre stage in world politics, for the Middle East has long known turbulence and conflict and the security  challenges it posed in the past were hardly less significant than today, especially given the emergence of nuclear weapons in the region.

The situation in the region remains explosive. The emerging positive developments in the Syrian settlement are not stable because of the still shaky balance of power. In Libya, the super-militarization and the low degree of institutionalization of the political process do not allow ending the bloody civil war. The Yemeni conflict is relatively poorly covered by the world media, but it is the most complex structure of all. Finally, the Palestinian-Israeli contradictions, which seemed to be pushed into the background, continue to have a destructive potential.

Presently Russia is able to maintain flexibility by establishing working relations with various and often hostile players. Russia is not only distancing itself from overly friendly embraces but also developing a clear and relatively easily realizable strategy for withdrawal. It does not mean breaking traditional ties or giving up mutually beneficial contracts, but it establishes red lines for players who perform parts of their own against the background of a powerful symphony of its multi-vector policy.

The Middle East has repeatedly showed how political irresponsibility, coupled with military recklessness, can create chaos, which, contrary to a popular theory, cannot be controlled. That is why an integrated and coordinated solution is needed to the further political, social and economic development of the Middle East, during which cannons will at last be silenced and local forces will start looking for a more euphonic melody.

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