RUSSIA. Moscow focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean

To ensure its strategic security, Russia sets its priorities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moscow adopted a new vision for maritime security in July 2022, as it viewed the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea as an important area for securing Russia’s national interests; in addition, it plays an important role in ensuring the strategic and territorial security of the Russian Federation.

The website of the Russian Council for International Affairs published a report by scholar Ivan Bocharov, in which he said that Russia sees particular importance in building a beneficial partnership with the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region and underlined the difficult period of transformation in Russia’s foreign policy resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the growing need to understand the regional policy of the Eastern Sea countries.

In fact, the Russian Primakov Institute has published a study entitled: “The fight for the eastern Mediterranean: interests and ambitions”. The study mainly takes into account the economic and legal aspects of international relations in the eastern Mediterranean, also paying particular attention to the study of the intersection of interests and priorities of regional powers and actors outside the region, reports Al Jazeera.

According to the Primakov Institute’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, energy, security issues and border disputes are the main issues that formed the basis of regional restructuring in the Eastern Mediterranean. the “gas factor” is directly linked to the will of the countries of the region to guarantee their economic interests through the delimitation of maritime borders and exclusive marine areas.

The main players in the border dispute are obviously Turkey and Greece and again, if one thinks of gas, a reflection must be made on the question of Cyprus. The Russian study underlined the importance for these countries to maintain dialogue and suggested some measures to increase mutual trust, including joint search and rescue operations and related exercises, scientific research and environmental monitoring.

The study also talked about the global gas crisis and its impact on Eastern Mediterranean countries, indicating that Eastern Mediterranean gas has become an alternative to Russian gas for Europeans, but the Eastern Mediterranean region can hardly play the role as the main guarantor of energy security in the European Union. According to the study, the export potential of Eastern Mediterranean countries is still very limited for many reasons, including underdeveloped infrastructure.

According to study author Ivan Bocharov, another hot topic will be relations between Palestine, Lebanon and Israel. Instability on the Lebanese and Palestinian tracks due to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel’s foreign policy, as well as internal crises in Palestine and Lebanon; All this limits the opportunities for these countries to exploit the resources of the eastern Mediterranean. However, Israel’s pragmatism and its ability to separate the problems of a political solution from the economic ones could help integrate Lebanon and Palestine into the “system of interdependence” in the eastern Mediterranean, as the study’s editors say.

The writer said the study also focused on Egypt, the Gulf states and Iran. He indicated that Egypt is trying to build alliances to contain Turkey in the region, and that it is ready to vigorously defend its interests in the eastern Mediterranean and is able to resort to a show of force if necessary.

Anna Lotti

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RUSSIA. Moscow focuses on the Eastern Mediterranean