MembersThe Arab Angle on Russia’s Occupation of Ukraine

No Arab leader wants to take on Russia or Putin, but some Arab countries have surprisingly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

By Edy Cohen | | Topics: Ukraine, Russia, Putin
Archive: Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bethlehem to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (far left) in June 2012.
Archive: Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bethlehem to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (far left) in June 2012. Photo: Issam Rimawi/Flash90

In order to analyze the reactions of Arab countries to the war in Ukraine, we need to first talk a little bit about the image of Russia and Vladimir Putin among the Arabs. He is known as “Abu Ali” for his courage and determination against the West, especially against the United States, which is considered an enemy of the Arabs and an ally of Israel.

The Russian president remained very popular with the Arab peoples until his involvement in Syria in 2013. Now, most Arab leaders, and certainly the Arab peoples, are against the Russian occupation of Ukraine. Most Arab countries are not saying much as they are afraid and do not want to take sides in the conflict. Like Israel, every country has their interests, though some countries have broken their silence. Syria, of course, has come out in support of Russia; Lebanon and Libya against.

Putin remains a highly respected figure within the Syrian government. Syrian media have revealed a recent phone call between the...

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