Will Russia Expel the US from the Middle East Once and For All?

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Russia may soon replace the United States as the leading actor in the Middle East, The National Interest claims.

40 years after the US succeeded in becoming a key force in the region and removing the Soviet Union from the Middle East, Russia is regaining its lost positions. The process of reducing US involvement in political processes in the region began during the presidency of Barack Obama. Under Donald Trump, the current president, this American loss and Russian gain is only consolidating.

If this process continues, Russia will become the leading actor in the region.

Russia’s influence is growing across the region – from Morocco to Iran. According to the journal, such changes are the result of a skillful combination of diplomacy and sales of weapons and technologies.

According to the experts, in the period from 2000 to 2014, Russia alone sold arms worth 1.3 billion dollars to the countries of the Persian Gulf.

US allies in the region are increasingly skeptical about entrusting their security to the Americans. The magazine underscores that such an approach is the legacy of Barack Obama. For example, in Egypt, the fact that the United States did not support Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has made the country, which has otherwise always been a cornerstone for Washington in the region, to cooperate more closely with Russia, the author notes.

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The edition also points to changes in contacts between Saudi Arabia and the US. The formula that once seemed unshakable – security in exchange for oil – no longer matters so much in Riyadh-Washington relations. Moreover, the Saudi King’s visit to Russia in 2017 has led to significant agreements such as the deliveries of S-400 anti-aircraft systems and cooperation in the field of atomic energy.

The situation in Syria is also advantageous for the return of Russia. The National Interest author consider the Russian Aerospace Forces’ operation in Syria “brilliant.’ He believes the prospects for future cooperation between Moscow and Damascus are obvious and will help Russia influence a number of regional issues, such as Sunni-Shiite opposition, anti-terrorist war, the Arab-Israeli conflict, etc.

The US withdrawal from the Iranian agreement has made relations between Moscow and Tehran even closer.

The National Interest contends that even the NATO bulwark in the region, Turkey, is increasingly cooperating with Russia in the field of arms supplies.

In the meantime, the author concludes that the process is not irreversible: US authorities have to work out a clear strategy for Syria and Iran and maintain allied relations with Israel. Nevertheless, he believes that Russia can strengthen its position in the region for a long time to come.

The “concerns” voiced in The National Interest not only reflect the changing geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East amidst the US’ decline and the rise of multipolarity, but also demonstrate that certain portions of the American analytical-intelligence establishment realize and are beginning to understand the processes unfolding which are denied in mainstream Western media.

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