The Russian Silence

Should America and Israel be concerned with Russia's silence during the recent Arab uprisings

Published: March 1st 2011
in News » World


A reminder of the past


The second half of the twentieth century is remembered by many as the era of the cold war. America became the leader of the free world and strengthened its supporters under the NATO Alliance. Russia, the former Soviet Union, became the leader of post World War II Eastern Europe. It imposed a dictatorship regime and gathered its supporters under the Warsaw alliance.


The Americans and the Russians involved themselves in every world conflict. The Korean War in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s were a part of the American-Russian military and ideological clashes.


The Israeli-Arab wars were considered a small testing field for American and Russian weapons. The results of those wars were quickly analyzed by military experts from both sides in order to better prepare the armed forces of the rival alliances.


Both the Americans and the Russians saw the support and stability of the world oil manufacturers, especially the Arab states, as crucial component in their defense philosophy.


Where are the Russians?


During the recent events in the Arab world, most western leaders commented on the events, with some condemning and threatening sanction, as meaningless as those might be at such a point. It was President Obama who stood behind the Egyptians and urged Mubarak to leave his post. It was French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel who criticized Gaddafi. They were behind the UN Security Council resolution in which Gaddafi may be trialed for crimes against humanity.


Despite the Middle-East drama and the violent clashes in North-Africa, Moscow has barely spoken a word. The only comment spoken was by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who called for both sides to show some restrain. The question being asked by moderate Russians is why?


Political analysts' opinion – The Russian bear


The most common analysts' opinion is simple; The Russians don't see themselves as needing to take a side in these recent events. Russia has enough trouble in the Kavkaz, and is also dealing with their own Muslim terrorist and a new international intervention is beyond their capabilities.


In terms of being influenced by the oil manufacturers, analysts say that Russia is an energy giant by itself. It exports oil and natural gas to Europe and has reserves of nearly 60 billion barrels of crude oil.


Concerning world politics, the Russian Bear is simply in a very long hibernation – They just don't care is the simplest political analysis.


Political analysts' opinion – The Russian snake


Another opinion is that the Russians are as naïve and indifferent as they currently look. They are quietly reminding all the Arab leaders how the Americans, which supported Mubarak for thirty years, had no hesitation to betrayed him.


One can’t forget that the Russians are the largest supporters of the Iranians and their nuclear program. The Russians supported the nuclear fuel for the Boushehr nuclear reactor and provided many Russian nuclear scientists to the Iranian government.


The Russians are like silent snakes. They are waiting for the best timing in order to pick-up the "harvest" from the recent Middle-East riots.


Impact on Israel


A weaker US impact in the region replaced with a stronger Russian impact is not the ideal scenario for Israel. So far Israel has had some impact on Russia and some proposed arms deals with Iran and Syria have been canceled or postponed. Is Russia’s recent supply of anti-ships cruise missile an indication that the Russians are back? Probably yes.




The Middle-East is not a place for political and military vacuum. If the American impact in the region weakens then the Russian impact automatically strengthens. America should work hard to gain trust in the region and get support from the new regimes in the Arab world. A stronger Russian influence in the region is not good for America or Israel.

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