An Iranian attack on Israel could be bad for Russia's war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi hold a meeting in Tehran, Iran in July 2022.
Sergey Savostyanov/AFP/Getty Images

  • An Iranian attack on Israel could affect Russia's war in Ukraine.
  • Iran is a major arms supplier and economic partner to Russia.
  • A broader Middle East conflict could also increase China's regional influence at Russia's expense.

Iran's attack on Israel on Saturday is bad not only for the Middle East, but also for Russia's war in Ukraine, as new fault lines appear between Moscow and Tehran.

Michelle Kris, a senior policy researcher RAND, A US think tank describes in a commentary how a wider conflict in the Middle East could affect Russia. Comment was first published National interest Thursday Magazine – Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday.

Criss's piece followed the April 1 attack on Iran's embassy in Damascus, Syria. Israel did not claim responsibility for the strike, but Iran claimed responsibility and vowed to retaliate.

“Moscow benefits from chaos in the Middle East — diverting Western attention and resources from Ukraine — and stands to lose if the Israel-Hamas conflict escalates into a wider war,” Grisé wrote.

Russia has been establishing itself as a military and diplomatic player in the Middle East for years.

Kris wrote that Moscow took advantage of instability in Syria Libya To establish itself as a regional security guarantor, but escalating conflict in the Middle East will not have the same effect.

He wrote that this is in part because Moscow is involved in the war in Ukraine. Russia's partnership with Iran has deepened over the past two years as Russia's heavily sanctioned economy has become increasingly isolated.

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Iran is now an important military supplier to Russia. An Iranian “Ghost Fleet“Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has been transporting oil around the world, draining Moscow's oil revenues.

But if Iran were to become embroiled in a wider conflict, it would not be able to provide the same level of support to Russia.

“A wider regional conflict, especially if it involves direct conflict between Israel and Iran, would limit Iran's ability to continue serving as a military supplier to Russia,” Kris wrote.

And, “Tehran may request additional support when Russia has less capacity to provide it,” he added.

The G7 countries It is already considering additional sanctions against Iran following its attack on Israel Spread to Russia.

European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen said in a statement on Sunday: “We will consider additional sanctions against Iran in close cooperation with our partners, particularly over its drone and missile programs.”

A broader Middle East conflict could increase China's influence in the region at Moscow's expense

Although Russia is at war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as a potential power broker in the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.

But Putin's plan could fall apart if the war spreads regionally, as Beijing is also keen to build peace.

“Russia will be particularly sensitive to Chinese attempts to encroach on its influence in the Middle East,” Kris wrote in his commentary.

As Kris noted, this is especially so since Beijing was able to deliver results in March of last year by establishing a blockade between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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With Russia's heavily sanctioned economy already dependent on China, if Moscow still hangs on to any shred of global influence, it will be even more exposed to Beijing's whims.

In a statement issued on Sunday in this regard, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia It expressed “serious concern” over what it called “another dangerous escalation” in the region.

Calling for restraint, Russia's foreign ministry expects regional governments to “resolve existing problems through political and diplomatic means.”

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