Maria Dubovikova, Arab News

Maria Dubovikova

Arab News

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Past articles by Maria:

Idlib assault may escalate Syrian conflict to new level

The weak alliance between the three guarantors of the Astana process — Russia, Turkey and Iran — is being tested over Idlib following Friday’s summit in Tehran, with Moscow and Tehran rejecting the cease-fire Ankara called for. It is clear Idlib will become the apple of discord not only for the three guarantors, but for the whole Syrian peace process in general. → Read More

Russia-US relations facing a bleak future

The new US sanctions against Russia, imposed in response to the alleged chemical attack in the UK targeting former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, came into effect on Monday after a one-week delay. The postponement shows that there are contradictions in Washington, either between the White House and lawmaking bodies or within the administration → Read More

Flying the flag for the Green Falcons in Russia

MOSCOW: To travel to Russia by motorcycle from Saudi Arabia: Risky and arduous? Well, to most, yes, but four brave men from the cities of Makkah and Madinah have just about done that, flying their motorbikes from Jeddah to Germany and driving to Russia from there. They came up with the idea to support the Green Falcons — Saudi Arabia’s national football team — on their way to → Read More

Pompeo tries to smooth path for ‘deal of the century’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week visited the Middle East, taking in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. His first trip to the region since being approved by Congress aimed to strengthen ties with key allies, coordinate positions on various issues,such as Iran’s nuclear deal, and maintain US influence over key issues in the Middle East, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. → Read More

Remember Napoleon: Why sanctions will never work against Russia

The effectiveness of sanctions against Russia is debated all over the West. Some acknowledge that they do not work, and say it is time to launch a dialogue instead. Others argue that the sanctions have not achieved any visible results so far because they are insufficient, and they propose new sanctions until Russia cracks under the pressure. → Read More

Putin will win six more years — but what then?

A presidential election in Russia is scheduled for March 18 — symbolically marking the anniversary of the date of Crimea’s “return” to the motherland — but the outcome is already clear. Vladimir Putin is widely supported all over the country, with about 68 percent of voters backing him, according to independent and state polls. → Read More

Russia’s vision for a new Syria to be tested in Sochi

Russia, Turkey and Iran — the guarantors of a cease-fire in Syria — agreed at the end of December to hold the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian resort of Sochi on Jan. 29 and 30. In their final statement, which was issued last month following the eighth round of Astana talks, the three countries called on representatives of the regime and the opposition to participate in these… → Read More

Security a major concern for Russia in 2018

The New Year promises to be a challenging one for Russia, as global turbulence is on the rise and events at home are poised to provide extra challenges for the government and its security apparatus. → Read More

Moscow aims to be Middle East’s safety valve

Russia’s return to center stage in the international theater has forced American and European security officials to review their strategies. One of Russia’s most important aspirations, besides the establishment of a stable, pluralistic model of the world order, is to recall its presence in the Middle East arena in general, and through support for the Assad regime in Syria in particular,… → Read More

Middle East is in the eye of the storm

The Middle East has been going through a period of transition, and the clock will not return to the era before the events of 2011. This means that instability will continue for years to come, and the security dimension will prevail because conflict among great powers with different priorities will exacerbate the challenges facing the region. → Read More

Middle East vulnerable to being trampled by rival powers

“A Russian wife equals a Russian spy.” This could be a phrase taken from the dialogue of an American Cold War era novel, but actually it is a genuine phrase that was uttered a few days ago at a conference in the US. And this phrase could serve as the perfect illustration of the current status of bilateral relations between the US and Russia. → Read More

Russia ready to fill Middle East void

US President Donald Trump, who next month celebrates his first year in office, has formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He has ended decades of American diplomacy by ordering the State Department to prepare for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, drawing anger and despair from people and leaders throughout the world, who now expect a possible third uprising in the Occupied… → Read More

Dialogue crucial if Yemeni order is to be restored

The assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is likely to have tremendous repercussions for the country’s conflict and its future, which is expected to be split in terms of loyalties and political ideologies, aggravating the humanitarian issues. The Yemeni scene is undoubtedly complex and the future cannot be determined with any certainty because of overlapping interests and… → Read More

Why Assad made a surprise visit to Russia

The surprise visit of Syrian President Bashar Assad to Sochi this week, and his meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, is a true turning point in the Syrian conflict. It preceded a summit of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders in the Black Sea resort on Wednesday, a meeting in Riyadh of the Syrian opposition and the resumption of the Geneva peace talks before the end of the… → Read More

How the Middle East could go the way of the Balkans

The current status of the Middle East is similar to that of the Balkans in the years before the World War I. Are we going to witness a Balkanization of the region — geopolitical fragmentation caused by other countries’ foreign policies? And what are the chances of an Iranian-Arab war or a Shiite-Sunni conflict that could lead to the redrawing of the Middle East map? → Read More

Israel beats the drums of war

Israel is beating the drums of war in the region. Disappointed by American inactivity, and having failed to persuade Moscow to change its mind on the majority of regional issues that most concern Tel Aviv, Israel has decided its best course is to act unilaterally. Its support for the Kurdish referendum is a litmus paper by which to understand Israel’s approach to the region. Kurdish independence… → Read More

At last, light at the end of the Syrian tunnel

Syria will be in the headlines over the next few weeks, but for optimistic reasons. The international community appears ready to proceed with a political resolution of the conflict, after success in implementing peace zones and obvious successes against terrorists on the battlefront. Several consecutive conferences will hopefully strengthen hopes for a reliable peace. The first one began on… → Read More

Why it’s too soon to celebrate the defeat of Daesh

The state of Daesh, which was announced in July 2014 from Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, has caused an earthquake in the whole of the Middle East. Nowadays it is causing another tremor as it nears its end after only three years, the shortest-lived “Islamic State” in history. The question that must be asked is whether this is really the end of Daesh. → Read More

Iran’s nuclear deal has not yet suffered a knockout blow

US President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear agreement could bring the ghost of war close to Europe. Trump has called on the US Congress to determine within two months whether to re-impose sanctions on Iran that were lifted in 2016 as part of the deal, warning that he would consider terminating the pact entirely. However, re-imposing sanctions goes against the interests… → Read More

Trump Administration Makes U-Turn in Middle East

With a new American military base in Israel, Washington has refocused US foreign policy on the Middle East. → Read More