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The Russians are Coming - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Three decades ago, the Russians were all over the Arab world as soldiers of the Soviet Union in Aden, Cairo, Damascus, Algiers, Mogadishu and elsewhere. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many believed that the hammer and sickle emblem would never return. This however, is not the case. The Russians are already returning to aggravated areas from behind the scenes. I believe that they are playing a troublemaking role even though our eyes are firmly set on Syria and Iran. The Russians are behind the development of Iranian nuclear power that threatens the Gulf. They were frank enough to say that they do not oppose sanctions on Iran as long as it would not harm the Iranian Bushehr reactor.

Russia’s support of Syria is seen once again in the Security Council, despite it harboring no enmity for the other party [Iran]. It seems that the region is on the brink of another Cold War between Moscow and Washington. The Superpowers fought in our region through their representatives, counter-coups, internal dissension, and mutual veto in the Security Council.

From Moscow’s financing of Iranian nuclear power to its nuclear poisoning in London, there are signs of the emergence of a new offensive state for the first time in a long time. It is widely believed that Russia was behind the killing of the former Russian spy in London by using radioactive substances, traces of which were found in various locations. Russia has got back to work. British Airways grounded three of its planes at the request of investigators in London.

Many Arabs wish for the return of the polar equilibrium due to the vacuum that the fall of the Soviet Union left behind shortly after the war for the liberation of Kuwait, which of course was unrelated to what happened in Moscow. Despite that the autocracy of the region caused much chaos, the return of the equilibrium would also be the cause of increased tensions by virtue of the stronger balancing forces outside of the region. If the equilibrium means preventing the sales of arms to countries in the region, it would then be a positive equilibrium providing the opportunity to build the region. However this was not the case before and will not be the case in the future.

As for Moscow, it is currently under the firm hand of President Vladimir Putin, a genuinely popular president unlike Russia’s former presidents who were either imposed on the country in the name of the party, or took over the leadership by chance during transitional periods and were short-lived.

Putin must have the desire to clash with the Americans on every issue in retaliation for Moscow’s tragic losses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. More likely than not, the price will be paid on oil-rich Arab land and its surroundings because it is the most aggravated, the most ‘rentable’, and the most likely to inflict harm upon itself and the rest of the world.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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