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.