Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered the precarious geopolitical balance in Eastern Europe. Yet the ripple effects from the conflict extend far beyond that region. In this podcast presented by New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai, Lydia Wilson reports from Amman where she speaks to freelance journalist Suha Ma’ayeh and international relations expert Amer Al Sabaileh about the impact the war is having on the Middle East.
As the U.S. seeks to isolate Russia in retaliation for the invasion, governments like Jordan’s have been reluctant to choose a side between the two great powers. The past decade of Russian engagement in the region has paid off — since Putin’s intervention in Syria, the country has become a key player. Few states are keen to sever their ties over what is widely seen as someone else’s war.
But no matter how distant it may seem, the war will have a significant impact close to home. Both Ukraine and Russia are major wheat exporters, and many countries in the Middle East rely on them for their supply of this staple crop. Fearing unrest, governments have already intervened to control bread prices, but if the war goes on for long, there are limits to what they can do to ensure a steady supply. After two years of COVID-19, most Middle Eastern countries can ill afford another hit to their already-strained economies.
Produced by Joshua Martin