The Middle East is witnessing great interest from Russia. With Moscow’s improving relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Russia looks determined to counter US dominance in the Middle East. Recently, Russia-UAE Relations witnessed a historic development when the two nations signed a Declaration of Strategic Partnership, the first such declaration signed between Russia and a Gulf Nation.
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For more than two decades Russia has remained away from the Middle East but now Moscow seems to be enhancing its rapport with the Gulf Nations to reduce the US’ increasing influence in the Middle East.
The US has been prioritizing its Middle East policy and also has plans to stitch an ‘Arab NATO’ to counter Iran. This Arab NATO will be led by Sunni Islamic nations including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Moscow is keen to cut on the US footprint in the Middle East and hence it is realigning its Middle East Policy.
Though the world is witnessing a great rapport between Russia and the Gulf Nations, there are still some issues over which divergence persists. Russia had highlighted that both Moscow and Riyadh face an identical range of issues but there are still differences over Iran and Syria.
Mutual investment, trade exchange, joint manufacturing ventures in defence and technologies and other cooperations have marked the strategic partnership between the two nations in recent times. Even during the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the two leaders were seen having a great time even though Saudi Arabia lost out to Russia in the opening game.
Gulf nations have been prudent enough to understand the bipolarity of the global powers and hence it has distanced itself from the divisions of the ongoing cold war. Gulf nations have fostered and bolstered ties with all leading power including Russia.