Gaza War Shifts Russia's Middle East Relations


(MENAFN- Asia Times) From the start of the Ukraine invasion, Vladimir Putin has understood that Russia retains one immeasurable advantage: time.

The sheer size of the Russian landmass, population and economy, as well as Putin's iron grip over the country's politics, means that the war could churn on for weeks, months or even years without causing government-altering pain in Moscow.

Indeed, part of the West's strategy in arming Ukraine so rapidly after the invasion was to force the pace against Moscow, to try to inflict a series of defeats on Russia that would force it to the negotiating table.

But 20 months into the invasion another war came along, taking the political focus of the West and the wider world away from Ukraine.

The Gaza war – what historians will likely call the Second October War, coming 50 years after the 1973 October War –
has become an opportunity for Russia, a chance to regain the moral high ground, grandstand among the Global South, and change the country's relationships with Middle Eastern nations.

The first has been much discussed. The carte blanche offered to Israel by the United States and other countries has been a gift from the West to Moscow.

Western hypocrisy

The Kremlin and its political and media supporters have repeatedly drawn an unflattering parallel between the way the US responded to the Ukraine invasion – with threats and sanctions against Russia – and the way it has responded to Israel's attacks on Gaza.

The hypocrisy is glaring and perfectly fits Russia's narrative that great powers behave differently and rules don't apply to them. Why therefore, they ask, must rules apply to a great power like Russia when it perceives a danger from Ukraine?

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