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The political crisis in some Arab world countries is highly probable to escalate into a new round of the Arab Spring today. Thus, destabilization of the MENA region will lead to global economic, migration and geopolitical consequences. Europe will be among the most affected regions, Russia being the main geopolitical beneficiary.
Protests in Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Iraq were triggered by various developments. However, they all have similar reasons: dissatisfaction with the socio-economic situation among the overwhelming majority of young people and the pressure of the new generation living according to different values, closed nature of power and the need for elite circulation, and the socio-economic situation as a whole.
The protests have a strongly pronounced destructive nature and are directed against the functioning of the system itself, and not to create something new. All these factors in practice can only lead to a protracted socio-economic conflict and further deterioration of the situation in these states. Given the rapid infiltration of protest ideas and sentiments in the MENA countries, having similar patterns of life and thought, as well as current situations, Arab Spring 2 could affect other countries likewise.
Mass protests in the MENA regions and attempts to rotate the elites alongside with the widespread destabilization of the situation accompanying this process, globally, will lead to the following consequences.
Firstly, this is an increase in the migration flow to the countries of Europe from MENA, which has been actively used since 2013, as an element of a hybrid war aimed at destabilizing the European countries, destroying the EU institutions and undermining its domestic policy. The EU is likely to acquire a new wave of refugees that will bring socio-economic, demographic problems and raise the security issue to a new level. An increase in the number of migrants, in its turn, will lead to a growth of European ultra-right’s popularity, who for the most part have close ties with the Russian intelligence agencies. As a result, Moscow is in a position to expand its influence on the European countries’ policies both in a destructive and constructive manner. The Kremlin applies similar tactics using the “migration weapon” at Syrian war. Now only an expansion of its basis is the case.
Secondly, destabilization in the MENA region raises oil prices. In addition, if continued, destabilization in Algeria could affect the liquefied natural gas market. In any case, the deteriorating situation in the region allows Russia to increase revenues and look like a more stable energy supplier. This is especially important against the backdrop of the struggle for the Nord Stream project.
Thirdly, the destabilization of the situation always triggers a request for the image of a “strong hand” and major players’ patronage. It is Vladimir Putin who can become such a geopolitical factor for the countries of the region, he will try to strengthen Russia’s position in MENA against destabilization background. Note that in 2019, the Russian leader pressed forward in the direction of Africa and the Middle East.
Moscow would be more active in tackling regional issues such as terrorism, the ideology of extremism, piracy, and the Arab Spring, Vladimir Putin said at a recent Russia-Africa summit. At the same time, Russia will continue to train the African military and law enforcement officials in Russian educational institutions.
It is no question that Russia will continue to strengthen its efforts in the Middle East and North Africa, using the protest political and socio-economic situation.At the same time, it will gain new opportunities for the use of “migration weapons” against the EU, while simultaneously increasing energy export revenues.