Russia and the Middle East: Diplomacy and Security

Samuel Ramani

Samuel Ramani is an DPhil candidate in International Relations at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford. At Oxford, he specializes in post-1991 Russian foreign policy, with an emphasis on Russia's responses to popular revolutions and military interventions, and Russia-Middle East relations. He is also a journalist who writes regularly about the post-Soviet region and international affairs for major publications like the Washington Post, Huffington Post and Diplomat Magazine, amongst others. This blog focuses on Russia's diplomatic overtures towards Middle East. It will particularly emphasize Moscow's relationship with the Arab world, but also discuss changing developments in Russia's relationships with Israel, Iran and "Greater Middle East states" on the Horn of Africa. The blog will cover two broad themes in these relationships. The first is how changing levels of Russia's economic and defence cooperation between Russia and Middle Eastern countries, impacts Moscow's regional and global influence. The second is the impact of Russia's relations with MENA region on Russian and international security. This will focus on Russian counter-terrorism operations and the ongoing anti-ISIS campaign.

New entries

December 24, 2018

Since the United Nations (UN) backed Kuwait peace talks on Yemen were first announced in April 2016, the international community has viewed a settlement between Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Houthi rebel forces as the ultimate path to…

October 3, 2018

Ahmed al-Wahishi is Yemen's Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He was appointed on the recommendation of Yemen's President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on July 13, 2017, and was Yemen's first sitting Ambassador to Russia in 6 years. Before serving in this…

August 7, 2017

On July 23, 2017, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Financial Times that Libya should join the oil supply production cut agreement brokered by Moscow and OPEC last December. Russia’s decision to target Libya, alongside Nigeria and US…

March 29, 2017

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, many analysts of Russia-Middle East relations have emphasized the contrast between Moscow’s generally cooperative relationship with Iran and tense relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)…

July 3, 2016

On June 30, 2016, the United States announced that it would be open to limited military cooperation with Russia in Syria against the al Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra. Washington’s cooperation proposal was conditional on Russia pressuring Syrian…

June 19, 2016

On April 19, 2016, Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdirshad Ali Sharmake held a bilateral meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. At that summit, Sharmake requested Russian support for his efforts to strengthen the Somali…

June 2, 2016

On April 27, 2016, General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, declared that Libya barely existed as a state and was a breeding ground for jihadist networks, like the Islamic State. To justify his grim assessment, Gerasimov accused…

Current poll

In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?

Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
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