Moscow hosts the fifth Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum today.
Discussions will cover a range of issues, including the conflicts in Syria and Libya, but will mostly focus on Israel-Palestine developments.
The focus on Israel is likely a deliberate strategy by Moscow to drive a wedge between the Arab League and the US after Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as Israeli territory was met with strong condemnation. Russia could also look to spoil Washington’s anticipated Israel-Palestine peace plan, although Moscow could be preaching to the choir, with the proposal expected to discard the broadly accepted two-state solution.
Playing spoiler is not a new diplomatic manoeuvre for Russia. Moscow exploited deteriorating relations between the US and Turkey in 2018 to improve its own ties with Istanbul. However, do not expect similar success here.
The Arab League’s most powerful members, most notably Saudi Arabia, retain close relations with Washington. More importantly, Israel’s increasing aggression serves an important purpose for Riyadh and its allies—balancing against Iranian influence. As such, any condemnation of Washington’s actions will be hollow.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.