While the Gulf Arab states may wish to avoid getting caught in the middle of a “Russia versus the West” conflict, the Ukraine crisis is already affecting the region’s tourism, food, energy, and other economic sectors.
Li-Chen Sim is a specialist in the political economy of Russian and Gulf energy (oil, gas, renewables, nuclear) and its intersection with international relations. Her interests include the politics of renewable and nuclear energy in the Middle East, Gulf- Asia exchanges, Russia-China relations in the Middle East, and Russia-Gulf interactions.
Her most recently published books include Low Carbon Energy in the Middle East and North Africa (Palgrave 2021) and External Powers and the Gulf Monarchies (Routledge, 2018). Her articles have appeared in leading academic journals such as Russian Review, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and Energy Research & Social Science; on forums hosted by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and Harvard University’s Belfer Center; and in popular media like the South China Morning Post and Al-Monitor.
She is active on the speaking circuit, having been a guest at Chatham House, the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, Gulf Intelligence, the National Defense College of the United Arab Emirates, and New York University Abu Dhabi, among others.
The creation and management of domestic and external stakeholder coalitions is intrinsic to a sustained commitment to nuclear energy in the UAE.
Russia may be able to withstand more pain from the collapse in oil prices than other producers, but cooperation in global energy markets is only one pillar of Russian-Gulf ties.
The pageantry that greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reflects the “quantum leap” in relations since his last state visit.
The Gulf states have ceased to perceive Russia purely as an adversary; today Moscow is regarded as a reliable international partner but also a competitor.