The Middle East in the Midst of the Ukraine War — with Suha Ma’ayeh and Amer Al Sabaileh

The Middle East in the Midst of the Ukraine War — with Suha Ma’ayeh and Amer Al Sabaileh
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech during Russian and Ukrainian delegations’ new round of peace talks at Dolmabahce presidential office this week / Berkcan Zengin / GocherImagery / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
This incident is coming at a critical moment after two years of COVID, with all the consequences — political and economic frustration, unemployment, inflation, social problems — so you just need a trigger to mobilize these societies. I think the impacts will be everywhere.

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

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