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The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed comments on the MENA region’s most significant issues and trends. Today, we turn the spotlight upon Egypt-Qatar relations, as we look at President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s inaugural visit to Doha after a four-year rift between the two countries.
It is hard to predict the outcome of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though we can be reasonably certain about two things concerning this crisis. First, it will eventually end. Second, Russia will continue posing a significant security threat to Europe regardless of how the war ends. If Russia takes over Ukraine, the Kremlin’s expansionist foreign policy is very likely to engulf other neighboring countries.
Prior to February 24th, 2022, one could have speculated about the scale of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s regime's dependence on Moscow. The Kremlin’s political support indeed ensured that Lukashenka survived the 2020 post-electoral protests. After all, Minsk could have hardly managed such domestic and international pressure if it wasn’t for Moscow’s funding and Vladimir Putin’s messaging to the international community that any move towards mediation of the Belarusian crisis would be considered as interference in Russian-Belarusian interests.
The two years preceding the Russian invasion of Ukraine suggested that Russia had adopted a measured policy toward the post-Soviet space. Faced with social protests in Belarus, a coup in Kyrgyzstan, the victory of pro-European president Maia Sandu in Moldova, the second war in Nagorno-Karabakh, and riots in Kazakhstan, Russia showed diplomatic ability without any hard arm-twisting of partners. In 2020, then Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitry Trenin even concluded that “there will be no new edition of the empire”.
Uzbekistan’s economic and security situation has been significantly changed by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Uzbek-Russian relations have been improving since Shavkat Mirziyoyev became Uzbekistan’s president in late 2016, but the Kremlin’s aggression in Ukraine threatens to undo some of the recent progress in Uzbekistan’s ties with Russia.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is endangering the international world order, so much so that NATO and the European Union have recognized Russia as a main threat to their collective security. Meanwhile, Russia’s warmongering has propelled Finland and Sweden into applying for NATO membership.
There were no illusions about Russia across the corridors of power in Chisinau before February 24th.
For much of its three decades of independence, Armenia has faced one priority: the imperative for sustaining its strategic balance. Such a balance has long been defined by the difficult and daunting effort of having to navigate between a dangerously one-sided security partnership with Russia and the demonstrably critical need to deepen ties to the EU and the West.