Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will conclude his Middle East tour in Qatar today.
During Lavrov’s trip, Russia has sought to forge stronger ties with the Gulf amidst troubled relations between the US and Gulf countries, demonstrated by US President Joe Biden’s criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and its destabilising use of militias in Iraq and Yemen.
Moscow has increased its interest in the Gulf due to the economic capabilities and resources that the region has to offer. Except Russia to seek investment opportunities in Arab states to increase business cooperation through infrastructure, agriculture and energy projects, especially within the framework of the OPEC+ forum.
Moscow will continue utilising the diminished state of Washington’s relationships in the Middle Eastern to strengthen ties. It is likely the Gulf states also found an opportunity in Lavrov’s tour to work more closely on regional issues and expand their strategic and economic partnership from 2018. Expect Russia to offer an alternative to the US in the form of trade benefits, military aid and economic incentives. As a result, the Biden administration will likely adjust its strategy towards the region to maintain its strategic alliances with a focus on addressing the security issues and humanitarian disasters present in Yemen and Iraq.
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Valeria is a research analyst for the Current Developments team and a regular contributor to the Daily Brief. As the head of the Latin America – Caribbean research desk, she focuses on Latin American politics, foreign policy and security issues.