December 5 2022 3:17 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The unintended consequences

Jawad Anani is an economist and has held several ministerial posts, including former deputy prime minister and former chief of the Royal Court. (Photo: Jordan News)
The scenarios of how the current Ukrainian crisis may go are open and difficult to assess. Yet,  judging from the military behavior of the Russian army, the first State of the Union address of US President Joe Biden, and the quick resort to economic sanctions of extensive nature against Russia, one could venture to guess what the possible and likely scenarios may be.اضافة اعلان

The Russians will not occupy all of Ukraine. They may target the areas of eastern Ukraine where a large Russian community lives. They may not enter the capital, Kyiv, but will keep at striking and deterrent distance from it.

If the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opts for continued fighting, his country may suffer a lot. So far, NATO will not put boots on Ukrainian ground, and the Russian armed forces are not carrying out a massive onslaught.

If the military operations are halted, the Russians and the Ukrainians will engage in a bitter negotiation process. Short of accepting that the Crimean Peninsula is Russian and at least granting the two Russia-recognized separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk their autonomy, the Ukrainian government will find a Russian side unwilling to budge.

On the other hand, the behavior of the Western media is not likely to benefit the Ukrainians, and the “preemptive measures” have been used by the Israeli governments and the George Bush Jr. administration to justify attacking the Palestinian territories and Iraq with different degrees of success.

The Russians have deep-rooted strategic interests in Ukraine, and I doubt that a president like Vladimir Putin would succumb to Western pressures to forgo them.  

The process may end in lengthy peace talks between the two countries. The most transparent results have already been made. Regardless of negotiations, NATO members will seek ways to avenge themselves.

Two things may happen. One, Iran will be pressured to sign the nuclear deal, thus aborting any possibility of creating a Central Asian coalition of Muslim countries siding with Russia. By arriving at a deal with Iran, NATO would alleviate the economic pressure on Iran and weaken Tehran’s resolve to participate in anti-western alliances like, for example, a Pakistani-Afghani-Iranian coalition.

If Iran thinks that the events in Ukraine serve it positively, it may go for higher stakes at the Vienna-hosted nuclear negotiations. Should that happen, NATO may look for other areas where they can harass Russia and Iran.

This may leave Syria as an option. Disconnecting Russian naval routes to the Mediterranean ports in Syria and attempts to force Russian military presence out of Syria is risky. Jordan should be concerned about such eventuality.

One can draw many pictures in the murky events of the Ukraine. Certainty is the most obvious victim of such a complex situation. And questions remain. Like, what would happen to projects passing through Syria, like resumption of transit trade, supplying Lebanon with electricity and expanding trade with Syria?

The writer is an economist and has held several ministerial posts, including former deputy prime minister and former chief of the Royal Court.

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