Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens Middle East stability

By March 3, 2022

International (MNN) — Russia’s Foreign Minister says if a third World War were to occur, it would involve nuclear weapons and be destructive. The assertion comes as Russia intensifies attacks on civilians and the United Nations General Assembly votes to demand Russia stop the war.

A week ago today, Russia began its relentless war on Ukraine and the West by extension. While most of the world stands with Ukraine, some countries raise concern by siding directly or indirectly with Russia.

China, for example, won’t join global sanctions and refuses to call the attack on Ukraine an invasion. In January, “Russia, China, and Iran were doing some joint war games in the Indian Ocean,” Heart for Lebanon’s Tom Atema says.

“This partnership has worried Israel, as well as the whole Middle East.”

In 2019, Iran’s naval commander called similar joint drills “a message to the world.”

How Ukraine affects the Middle East

The day after the attacks began, Middle Eastern countries Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon condemned the Ukraine invasion, while Iran and Syria supported Russia. Those sentiments largely remain today, with so-called “fence-sitters” including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt.

Russia’s Minister of Defense and General of the Army Sergei Shoigu inspects the Russian air base in Syria on February 15, 2022.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad affirmed Russia’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk on February 21, and state media reported a conversation between Assad and Putin on February 25.

Assad commended Putin’s actions as a “correction of history and [a] rebalance to the world…lost after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Assad further stated, “that Syria supports the Russian Federation, based on its conviction of its correct stance that repelling NATO expansion is Russia’s right.”

“Putin, in the past, has sent military forces into Syria to save the Bashir regime,” Atema says.

“His campaign to bring Ukraine under Moscow’s control, I believe has a direct connection to this joint Russia-China-Iran project, and it’s propping up the Assad regime in Syria.”

Neighboring Lebanon is already a mess, and regional instability could make things even worse. Whatever may come politically, Lebanon needs wheat today, along with the Bread of Life. Lebanon imports around 60-percent of its wheat needs from Ukraine and Russia.

Believers are busy sharing the hope of Christ as long as they can.

“We’re not sure how much longer we’ll have the freedom in Lebanon to do what we do. But while we have it, we’re going to do all we can to share the love of Jesus Christ to the people in Lebanon and anybody who might come through Lebanon,” Atema states.

Pray for peace and an end to violence in Ukraine.



Header image depicts President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during the address “On the conduct of a special military operation” on February 24, 2022. (Wikimedia Commons)

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