Russia and the United States in the Cases of Egypt and Libya
The topic of love-hate relations between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR)-turned-Russia in the Middle East has occupied a significant part of the discourse on internation-al relations in the region since times long gone. Not only has this standoffish confrontation shaped the political backdrop of regional developments, more often than not it has also contrib-uted to the domestic environments in both the United States and Russia, from the economical to the social to the political discourse. From this perspective, one should evaluate every en-deavor undertaken by both actors with consideration to the res-onance this or that statement or step was intended by leaders to create within their home constituencies.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian policy towards the Middle East has been marked by inconsistency and unexpected U-turns. This has made it hard for Western policymakers to understand whether Russia’s presence in the Middle East represents a source of cooperation or of future conflict between Moscow and the West. On the one hand, Russia’s stance on Syria, its refusal to recognize the threat posed in the past by Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes, and its frequent attempts to penetrate and, in some cases, to dominate the energy and arms markets of Middle Eastern countries have raised concerns among Western powers. On the other hand, over the same period, Russia’s initial de facto support of Western involvement in the Libyan conflict in 2010–11, its cooperation to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue in 2012–15, its initiatives on conflict resolution in Yemen in 2011–12, and its refusal to export S-300 missile systems to Syria in 2013–14 offered hope that Moscow could play a positive role in the region. The nature of Russia’s interaction with the Middle East has shifted since 2012. After the re-election of Vladimir Putin for a third term in 2012, Moscow substantially increased its presence in the region. It became more deeply involved when, on 30 September 2015, Russia launched airstrikes against groups opposing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. This set a new precedent. Before September 2015, Russia had tried to avoid any fully fledged involvement in military conflicts in the region. This was also the first time Russia focused on air power instead of ground forces – an approach often used by the US
This article deals with the main problems and issues that have been arisen around the complex and ambiguous situation in the Russian Oriental and African Studies towards the ways of representation, interpretation and evaluation of the Libyan-Chadian conflict in the second half of the twentieth century.
The author investigated the genesis of approaches and assessments of Soviet Oriental School, as well as its heritage had an impact on the development of Libyan Studies in post-Soviet Russia.
He systematized the body of historiographical works on the subject; defined the range of the most controversial issues; identified a number of information gaps and inconsistencies with foreign studies, described their causes; highlighted the main vectors and most perspective cases for study, which were found and developed by the Soviet and Russian scholars.
“Arab spring” has launched a process of large-scale political transformation of the countries in the North Africa and the Middle East. There are many “points of tension” in the region of North Africa, in which converge the political and economic interests of external actors, including international non-governmental organizations (INGOs). The lobbying of democratic values as opposed to clan interests led to the strengthening of the role of the West in relation to the state and public institutions of the North Africa and the Middle East. Moreover, academic community recognizes that currently INGOs actively participate in modern international relations, in internal policy of the countries where they perform their activities. Their actions have even more significant impact during the times when the political regimes change. This article aims to analyze the activities of INGOs before, during and after the change of H. Mubarak’s government in Egypt, under the governments of M. Mursi and A.F. As-Sisi (2010—2016 gg.). The article deals with several active INGOs of the “Arab Spring”, such as National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, Carter Center and other. The analysis of the activities of the above-mentioned INGO allows us to draw conclusions about their strategies, methods, and instruments of modern technologies facilitating the change of the political regime. The most common mechanisms of INGOs influence on political transition were participation in organization of the electoral process, organization of election campaigns, seminars, consultations for civil society that promote the emergence of new potential political leaders. Great attention in this article is paid to the socio-economic situation in Egypt after the mass unrest. The author shows how the external forces behind foreign NGOs contributed to the political transition, and relates to the ambiguous results for population it has brought
Moscow is extremely interested in keeping Iran in the sphere of its influence. First of all, Iran’s geostrategic position allows it to influence the situation in the Caspian Sea region, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. This, in turn, compels Moscow to discuss a wide range of foreign policy issues with Tehran. Given the shared visions on how to handle most of these problems, the support of Iran is believed to be important to the success of Moscow’s activities to restore and strengthen Russia’s regional position after the fall of the Soviet Union. Finally, both Moscow and Tehran are interested in saving the remaining government institutions in Syria. This common task plays in favor of Russian-Iranian cooperation, although each country certainly has its own reasons for saving the remnants of the regime.
Russian strategy in the Middle East comprises several elements. First,Moscow is persistent in defending what it sees as its red lines in the region. Thus, Russia is against any military intervention not approved by the UN Security Council. It does not welcome forced regime change if it leads to the destruction of existing state mechanisms. The Kremlin is also concerned about any change of borders in the Middle East, and it is firmly against any dialogue with radical Islamists and jihadists. Moscow’s flexibility has enabled it to talk to different forces in the region and, if necessary, play the mediator’s role. However, Russia is respected by Syria’s regional opponents, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for the stubbornness it demonstrates when defending its own red lines in the region. Accordingly, the Saudis and Qataris are compelled to take Russia’s point of view into account and retain some dialogue with the Kremlin.
Second, Russia seems to be trying to reclaim its Cold War role as acounterweight to the U.S. in the region. Yet, the Kremlin does not directly oppose Washington, but rather exploits the region’s pre-existing disappointment with the U.S. through practical moves, which contrast American and European behavior. Thus, the reluctance of Washington to protect Mubarak, compared with the Russian support provided to Assad,encourages regional powers to consider Moscow a more reliable partner.
Third, Moscow avoids using ideological rhetoric in its official dialogue with the countries of the region.Unlike in the former Soviet space,the Russian leadership does not impose its views either by force or by means of economic coercion. In dialogue with the countries and political groupings of the region, Moscow tries to focus on existing commonalities rather than differences and contradictions. In all cases, the Kremlin also remains extremely pragmatic. Russia does not raise the question of political freedoms in Iran and tries not to be critical of Israel’s policies in Palestine and Gaza in spite of its support for a two-state solution. Moscow tries to support a dialogue with all countries in the region without expressing obvious support for any particular state or coalition, and, so far, it has been partly successful in doing so.
Finally, in its economic efforts, the Kremlin focuses on those areas where it has market advantages: nuclear energy, oil and gas, petro-chemicals, space, weapons, and grain. At the same time, Russian business in the Middle East is based on the adage of “Chinese price for European quality.”Thus, price and reliability were the main reasons for interest from Middle Eastern countries in Russian nuclear technologies.
This book contains a unique collection of studies on key economic and social policy challenges faced by countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region in a short- and long-term perspective. Prepared within the EU funded FP7 project on „Prospective Analysis for the Mediterranean Region (MEDPRO)” conducted in 2010-2013 it takes account on recent political developments in the region (Arab Spring) and their potential consequences. It covers a broad spectrum of topics such as factors of economic growth, macroeconomic and fiscal stability, trade and investment, Euro-Mediterranean and intra-regional economic integration, private sector development and privatizations, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, financial sector development, poverty and inequality, education, labor market and gender issues.
he campaign carried out by the government of eastern Libya and by military forces associated with it (the Libyan National Army or LNA) since 2014 has been mainly !nalized towards capturing Benghazi and Derna from the local municipalities. By July 2017 Benghazi was captured, or, to quote eastern Libyan pundits, "liberated" (although, contrary to the LNA reports, the situation in the city is still far from stable), and the siege of Derna began. These advancements of Tobruk and LNA leadership, however, failed to solve harrowing problems a"ecting the whole of Libya, such as radical Islam, lack of fair leadership or social security, economic stability and development, whose solution remains essential for transitioning Libya from the condition of a failed state to a country on the up-hill track of development. On the contrary, the tendencies to intra-territorial clashes between di"erent seats of power and military forces in Libya contributed to the rise of traditional historic trends: the search for a new strong leader, who will be able to keep Libya safe, the fatigue of the war and the rejection of all contemporary centers of power. In this context the dichotomist relationship between tribes vs urban centers, which allows for a semblance of stability in several regions of Libya, constitutes a major destabilizing factor along the coastal planes. Derna and Benghazi are the stark examples of this socio-political conundrum, which has determined the evolution of the social psyche from 2011 onwards. Every subsequent government, of which there were quite a few since the "February Revolution", promised peace and modernization of the state