quotes Conflict in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic role

20 June 2024
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Updated 19 June 2024

Conflict in Ukraine and Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic role

Vladimir Putin’s recent threat to the West, in which he warned of supplying weapons to entities capable of targeting Western nations, underscores the increasingly volatile future of international security.

This coincides with a 2019 study published in the International Security Journal, which focuses on the distribution of power in the world order, the extent of cooperation among great powers, and the consequential reverberations on global security. It found that the shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world order significantly complicates great powers’ efforts to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The study argues that ongoing and intensifying security competitions, such as those in the South China Sea, Syria, and Ukraine, heighten these risks. According to the study, in a multipolar system where great powers struggle to cooperate and uncertainty among major players surges, maintaining global stability becomes increasingly almost impossible.

As Russian troops advance in Ukraine, testing the West’s resolve and commitment to defending Ukraine’s sovereignty, escalating conflict in the Middle East provides a convenient distraction for Putin. This development underscores the study’s argument that great powers can exploit rising geopolitical tensions and security competition in other regions to advance their interests indirectly.
The current situation presents a stark challenge to the US, which has championed arms control, particularly of weapons of mass destruction, as a cornerstone of its grand strategy since 1945. The ongoing conflicts highlight the difficulty of upholding this commitment in an increasingly multipolar world where new threats and distractions constantly emerge. Since defeating Moscow in Ukraine is likely impossible, providing military aid — which could escalate the conflict or prove to be a futile policy — is an unwise and potentially counterproductive strategy for the entire international community.

During his visit to the Kingdom on June 12, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that he had held productive talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

A political settlement, while undoubtedly complicated and requiring difficult compromises from all parties involved, is the only responsible path forward not only for Russia and the West but for the entire world. Putin’s threat serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of peace in the 21st century and the urgent need for dialogue and cooperation on the global stage. The prospect of a Donald Trump comeback seems to motivate President Joe Biden and the G7, as seen in their last meeting to ensure sustained support for Ukraine. Unfortunately, many consider this statement to supply Ukraine with weapons as a sign that the conflict’s end is not coming soon.
It is important to acknowledge the significant diplomatic efforts by actors like Saudi Arabia to mediate and de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine. Saudi Arabia is emerging as a potentially acceptable mediator for both Ukraine and Russia in the ongoing conflict. During his visit to the Kingdom on June 12, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that he had held “productive” talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. These discussions focused on the Peace Summit in Switzerland (held June 15-16) and on strengthening bilateral ties.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s proactive diplomacy stems from a deep understanding of global security’s interconnected nature and the recognition that prolonged fighting inflicts devastating human costs while exacerbating existing tensions and fueling instability far beyond the original conflict zone. Based on these efforts, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a strong candidate to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and is increasingly becoming an important player in the new world order. As an influential middle power in the evolving international landscape, Saudi Arabia’s role would positively affect not only Europe but also extend to the Middle East and beyond.

To conclude, the Kingdom’s long history of mediation on the world stage is the only current hope for resolving the unfortunate conflict in Ukraine.

Nasser bin Hamed Al-Ahmad is a political analyst. X: @nasseralahmad3