FILE PHOTO: View of the Kremlin. EPA, YURI KOCHETKOV
Since the war broke out in Gaza, the official position of Russia is clear: The Americans are responsible for the tension in the Middle East, while Russia wants peace and is doing everything it can to end the war between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas.
The reality is different, points out Russian analyst Ruslan Suleimanov, an expert on Middle East issues, speaking to DW. He believes that Russia is profiting from the situation and has an interest in prolonging the war. The greater the risk of a more general conflagration, he points out, the more apparent the Kremlin’s satisfaction as the US weakens. In addition, Moscow is favored by the fact that “the US and other Western powers are focusing their attention on the Middle East, not on Ukraine.”
Political scientist Konstantin Pakhaliuk, who lives in Israel, believes that Moscow is satisfied with the turn the war is taking and explains this view as follows: Everyone blamed Russia for starting the war in Ukraine and its behavior was unacceptable, but where Israel’s behavior is even more unacceptable – or so Russia claims – while there is a risk of an extension of the war and the Americans cannot intervene. “So why do you blame Russia? We have no moral responsibility for all this,” is the message of Russian propaganda.
There is one more element that pleases the Kremlin, Pakhaliuk emphasizes: Moscow has an opportunity to demonstrate its closeness to the Islamic world. He may retain little influence in Syria, Egypt or Iran, but he wants to remind the Arab world that inside Russia live millions of Muslims who support the Palestinians.
Negative consequences inside?
A different point of view is expressed by the Russian political scientist and economist Mikhail Krutychin, who lives in Norway. Speaking to DW, he argues that the war in the Middle East only causes problems for Moscow, as evidenced by the latest anti-Semitic attacks inside Russia.
For Krutichin, the attacks mean that the Kremlin cannot guarantee the security of all of Russian territory. In any case, he points out, Moscow derives no tangible benefit from the war, not even economically. An economic benefit would result from an increase in the price of oil, but such a possibility does not appear. On the contrary, prices are falling. No oil-producing country appears willing to join the Palestinians.
Putin-Netanyahu, a difficult relationship
As for the Kremlin’s mediating role, analyst Konstantin Pakhaliuk believes that the recent visit of a Hamas delegation to Moscow, which drew sharp criticism from Israel, does not advance the peace process, but was an attempt to reach out for the release of Russian hostages in Gaza .
But there are other reasons, adds Ruslan Suleimanov, why the Kremlin sympathizes with Hamas. “The most important reason, I believe, is that Vladimir Putin has been disturbed by the attitude of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. He was supposed to be his friend, he was going to support him in the Ukraine war, but that didn’t happen.” On the contrary, a wave of sympathy for the Ukrainians began to appear in Israel, something that Putin still does not forgive.
With information from dw.com
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