Vladimir Putin’s Trip to the Middle East Is a Show of Weakness, Not Strength

In the wake of President Biden’s recent visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Russian president is now making his own journey to the region. On Tuesday, he arrived in Iran to meet with the country’s leaders as well as with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Bobby Ghosh comments:

The Russian president may hanker for a time when the occupants of the White House and the Kremlin were held in equal regard across the Middle East and North Africa; in reality, he can only hope for superpower status by association.

If anything, Putin’s war on Ukraine has diminished his country’s stature in the region. Rather than offer solutions to geopolitical, economic, and security problems created by U.S. disengagement, Russia is now a source of new crises. Mounting grain scarcities and food inflation in the poorer Arab nations are a direct consequence of Putin’s belligerence. His continued support for Iran despite its nuclear brinkmanship is cause for frustration for Israel and the Gulf Arab states menaced by the regime in Tehran. Not that the Iranians are feeling especially grateful at the moment: Russia is undercutting their oil exports to China.

Meanwhile, the poor performance of Putin’s forces in the battlefield is hardly reassuring for those who get their military supplies from Moscow.

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Iran, Middle East, Turkey, U.S. Foreign policy, Vladimir Putin


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security