Alwaght– In the past few years, Russia has returned to the West Asia region and tried to play a role in crisis-hit regional countries, moving away from passive policy it underwent following the end of the Cold War marked by the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The first starting point was Syria, where Russia has unwaveringly supported President Bashar al-Assad and so thwarted the designs of a Western-Arab-Israeli camp to oust the president and partition the country.
Yemen is another setting where Russia seeks to emerge as an actor. On Monday, a British-drafted resolution calling on the United Nations Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Yemen and also condemn what it called Iran’s arming of the Yemeni revolutionaries was vetoed by Russia.
Instead, the UNSC adopted a Russian-drafted resolution calling for an extension of UN-imposed arms ban on Yemen without mentioning Iran.
The UK representative to the UN, supported by the American and French envoys, had prepared a draft resolution that intended to, along with extending the Yemen weapons sanctions for another year, blast the Islamic Republic of Iran for what it claimed the missile supply to Yemen’s Ansarullah, a revolutionary movement which has been strongly resisting the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s anti-Yemeni aggression backed by arms and logistics of the US and Britain. In a revised version to get Moscow on board and pass the draft resolution at the 15-member UNSC, London stopped at expressing concerns about Iran’s behavior. But even the reviewed version did not satisfy Russia which along with Bolivia voted against it.
Loss at the final step
In the recent months, Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, unleashed heavy propaganda war against Tehran. She held several conferences in all of which she attacked the Islamic Republic, including one in which she put on show a cylinder-shaped object that she claimed was debris of an Iran-made missile fired in December 2017 at the Saudi capital by the Yemeni forces. Haley profoundly maneuvered for her propaganda and even invited the representatives of the UNSC to make them rally behind the US for anti-Tehran pressures.
The missile supply over the past few months has become a theme for the anti-Iranian moves by the US which is working hard to build an international consensus against the Iranian missile program. Washington attempts to paint the program as posing a threat to the global peace and so prepare the ground for additional sanctions against Iran.
The US also has its regional allies embarked on a campaign of blackening against Tehran’s military capabilities. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 18 during the Munich Security Conference used a speech to brandish a piece of metal sheet in a rectangular shape which he claimed to be a remnant of an Iranian drone shot down by the Israeli air force upon its crossing the border into Occupied Palestine flying from the Syrian territory. Saudi Arabia, another ally of the US, has constantly been accusing Iran of providing the Yemeni revolutionaries with missiles. These accusations are pieces of a Washington-designed puzzle.
These charges come while with an all-out blockade from the sea, land, and air foisted on Yemen, in place since March 2015, it is categorically impossible to send food and fuel, let alone arms, to Yemen.
However, the Russian veto disallowed completion of the puzzle, rendering Washington’s scheme ineffective. The move once against made it clear that Russia puts first its strategic alliance with Iran in dealing with such cases. After all, Russians have come up with the notion that return to West Asia, where they can take on the Americans, is only likely through a strategic partnership with Iran.
Russia beats US unilateralism
The case is not only that Russia foiled the anti-Iranian plot of the US. Another point is that Russia has managed to unanimously pass its Yemen-related resolution. Politically, this means that the Russian diplomacy has overpowered that of the US at the UNSC. Moscow is now in a confrontational state with Washington in more than one case. Moscow is avidly searching for a situation to exhibit its strength and resolve to Washington. The Monday veto offered Russians a chance send a strong message to Washington, telling that the time of unilateralism and unipolarism in the hot spots has gone. The message also bore a veiled point: Putin’s Russia is rushing back to the peak of its power globally.
Aside from rivalry with the US, Russia wants to play a more active role in Yemen. This Russian interest should be attributed to Yemen’s privilege of geopolitical position and closeness to the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, a sea gate in the south of the country whose security means the security of global energy supply.
All in all, the Russian veto of the British-drafted resolution on Yemen was another blow to the US which in the past few months diligently lobbied using various diplomatic tricks to label Iran the culprit to blame for the current Yemen situation. The allegations of sending arms to Yemen come while Western-supplied cutting-edge arms together with intelligence backing offered to the Riyadh-headed Arab military alliance have been the root causes behind perpetuation of the crisis.