Middle East: Political Dynamics and Russia’s Interests

15 march 2017

Russia – GCC Relations After the Signing of the JCPOA with Iran

Aleksandr Aksenenok Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, Leading Researcher at the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies, RIAC Member

Omar Mahmood Research Analyst at the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat)

Russian and GCC commentators are well-acquainted with the Western views regarding the GCC region. However, Russian and GCC commentators are comparatively uninformed about each other’s perspectives regarding this important topic due to the nascent nature of research dialogue between the two. The report prepared by Alexander Aksenenok and Omar Mahmood aims to remedy this communication lacuna by furnishing readers with Russian and GCC perspectives on the issue.

21 february 2017

Tackling the Libyan Crisis

The protracted conflict in Libya that has almost disappeared from the political agenda may deteriorate further and result in a full-scale war. What is the role of France in resolving the crisis in Libya? Russian International Affairs Council asked Ambassador Elisabeth Barbier, Special Envoy of France to Libya, to comment on a political solution for a problem.

13 february 2017

The Phoenix: Prospects of Egypt’s Oil and Gas Sector

Anna Manafova Expert at the Institute of the Middle East, graduate of International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy at MGIMO

In less than two years, the hydrocarbon sector of Egypt passed two symbolic milestones. In 2014, the used-to-be-gas-exporter first became a net importer of natural gas. At that time, there was little prospect for Egypt’s oil & gas exporting potential. However, the discovery of the supergiant gas field Zohr in August 2015 and the events that followed reversed the situation, reviving hope for Egypt to win back its role of gas exporter. Who will take part in developing the Egyptian hydrocarbon sector, and will this country return to exporting its natural gas?

17 november 2016

Donald Trump Will Create a “Window Of Opportunity” In the Middle East

Vasily Kuznetsov PhD in History, Director, Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, RIAC expert

What decisions can we expect from Donald Trump’s new team on the Middle East? The further aggravation of the situation in Syria, the U.S. policy with respect to its allies as well as the problem of the Iranian nuclear programme all remain highly topical issues on the Middle East agenda. Vasily Kuznetsov, RIAC expert and Director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, outlines the new U.S. policy in the Middle East.

16 november 2016

Middle East Zugzwang

Anna Batyuchenko Institute of Oriental Studies

Despite the fact that Mosul has not been recaptured from the Islamic State, and the announced attack on Syria’s Raqqa has lost some momentum, there is little doubt that the fate of radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq is sealed. This makes the issue of the two countries’ postwar state structure particularly important. Who will take responsibility for the future of the two key Middle Eastern nations? How will they do so?

14 november 2016

Is Oil-And-Gas Friendship Possible Between Russia and Saudi Arabia?

Anna Manafova Expert at the Institute of the Middle East, graduate of International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy at MGIMO

Following the drop in oil prices and the souring of US-Saudi relations, there have been increasing signals of rapprochement between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Both countries' senior representatives have been voicing intentions to strengthen energy cooperation. Could this lead to a new oil-and-gas friendship?

24 october 2016

Lebanese People Awaiting Breakthrough Solutions

Alexei Sarabyev PhD in History, Chief of Research and Publishing Dept, RAS Oriental Studies Institute

The Lebanese political field does not seem to show any signs of a transition to a phased solution of the key problems facing the country – that is, the crisis of the legislative and executive branches, social security issues, economic hardship, unemployment, refugees, etc. Yet serious shifts are under way beneath the surface that seem to promise an early change of the landscape.

11 october 2016

Russia’s Syria Campaign: Measuring Costs and Benefits

Alexey Khlebnikov Middle East expert and Russian foreign policy analyst, MSc Global Public Policy, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. PhD candidate, RIAC expert.

A year ago Russia announced the beginning of its military campaign in Syria which has become the first military operation of the Russian Armed Force in the Middle East. Being one of the major external actors in the Syrian conflict Russia has been staying away from direct involvement for four years. Interfering in the Syrian civil war upon the request of Bashar Assad’s government on September 30, 2015 Moscow changed the tide of the war on the ground safeguarding positions of the regime and proving Russia’s global power status.

06 october 2016

To the Israeli Front in American Boots

Tatiana Karasova PhD in History, Head of Israel Department at RAS Institute for Oriental Studies

On September 14, 2016, the United States and Israel signed an agreement (memorandum) of understanding on the provision of military help to the Jewish state worth $38 billion over ten years ($3.8 billion per year). The previous agreement, which was adopted by the Bush administration in 2007 and expires in 2018, provided $3.1 billion per year. The new document will come into force once the term of the existing memorandum expires and will last from 2019 to 2028. It is the largest package ever provided by the United States.

29 september 2016

Bahrain: A Small Country with Big Opportunities?

Irina Ahmed Zain Aidrous Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Economic sanctions are making Russian entrepreneurs look more carefully in pursuit of more favourable development opportunities. The Kingdom of Bahrain calls all the shots among the states in the Gulf and offers effective ways for cooperation with Russia. The financial capital city of the Arab region encourages private entrepreneurship by fully removing capital export restrictions and eliminating customs duties on the import of equipment and raw materials. Bahrain’s business environment is characterized by the openness of its economy, high international rankings in terms of economic freedom, and financial development indices. Will the Russian side manage to see the “pearl” of the Arab world and fully unlock the potential of their bilateral commercial and economic relations?