Monday, September 25

Mideast countries hedge bets on a war that isn’t theirs

When the United Nations gathered at the beginning of March to issue a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the votes were overwhelmingly in favor. But in the days after, as the list of sanctions spearheaded by Washington were outlined, a stark divergence emerged between the West and the rest.

Sanctions – the main punishment for Russia’s attack on its neighbor – were being applied primarily by European and North American countries. The rest of the world was hedging its bets on Russia, issuing political condemnation but not participating in economic pain.

Nowhere was this more obvious than in the Middle East, where even traditional US allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel have been circumspect, reluctant to offer either full-throated criticism of Russia or unequivocal support for the Western-led sanctions program.

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