Dr. Salem Al Ketbi
Dr. Salem Al KetbiCourtesy:

Dr. Salem Alketbi is a UAE political analyst.

There is no doubt that the Gaza war between Israel and the terrorist Hamas movement has dominated the agenda of international attention since its outbreak, to the point that a major international crisis that affected - and is still affecting - the economies of countries around the world has been hidden behind the geopolitical earthquake caused by the sudden outbreak of conflict in the Palestinian Arab sector.

This is given that the terrorist Hamas launched a major bloody attack deep into Israeli territory, resulting in the barbaric killing and capture of hundreds of Israelis, which represented a serious existential threat to Israel, and prompted its Western allies to line up and show support and sympathy for it.

In light of the above, Ukraine and its war were absent from the priorities of official and media attention, and there were real fears of a decline in interest in it, as reports indicate that the Russian army is making field progress and is facing less Ukrainian resistance due to the lack of equipment and trained personnel in the Ukrainian army.

Evidence suggests that the West's support for Kiev had begun to decline relatively before the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza, and there were signs indicating this, but the latter provided an opportunity to cover up this decline.

The issue is related to the failure of the Ukrainian army to achieve any qualitative military progress that would convince Western capitals to continue their generous military support, as the much-touted Ukrainian military counterattack failed to resolve the situation on the ground, in addition to the widening circle of disagreement at the European level, specifically about the level of support provided to Ukraine, especially by countries such as Hungary and Poland, and soon, perhaps, the Netherlands.

Although it is difficult to say that Western support for Ukraine will be completely cut off, because there are strategic dimensions and goals related to the desire to defeat Russia, or at least improve the Ukrainian negotiating conditions, in any potential negotiation process with the Russian side.

The United States, which has so far provided about $45 billion in military support to Ukraine, finds it difficult to suddenly give up on continuing to achieve its strategic goals in this war, as it is the largest military supporter of Kiev, and has provided more than twice what the largest European country supporting Ukraine, which is Germany, has provided. Militaryly, it is estimated at about $20 billion.

But what is happening now is that the US Congress is obstructing the White House’s plans to pass new aid to Ukraine worth $60 billion, while the European Union was unable to reach an understanding on an aid plan worth about $50 billion, and despite the possibility of reaching a settlement to pass these plans partially or completely, The current situation sends strong signals that this may be the last major financing plan offered to Ukraine.

The conflict in Gaza played an influential role in the level of Western support for Kiev, but it was not the only factor influencing this level.

There are other factors, including the performance of the Ukrainian army, whose results were not up to the expectations of Western experts, as large quantities of weapons, equipment and ammunition stocks in the United States and NATO arsenals were depleted, and the targeted results were not achieved.

Russia itself was not affected in the expected way by the Ukraine war, and was not subjected to international isolation as had been imagined.

In fact, President Putin has made more foreign visits than many Western leaders.

During the past year, he traveled to China, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgyzstan, and attended “virtually” the BRICS summit held in South Africa, where the group, led by Russia and China, is increasingly expanding, making it an influential bloc in international relations.

The failure of the Ukrainian counterattack, or the failure to achieve the hoped-for success, as President Zelensky himself admitted, does not mean, on the other hand, a military victory for Russia. In contrast, the Russian army did not achieve any qualitative military progress, and the situation on the ground turned into a kind of stagnation after three years of fighting.

It seems that the only breakthrough that can resolve the situation lies in a political and diplomatic movement, not a military one.

Russia is betting on the time factor and the approaching change in policies due to the influence of the electoral period, as the United States is witnessing a presidential term at the end of this year, during which President Biden is struggling greatly to win a second presidential term.

Analysis of reality says that it is difficult to draw a different picture of Western support for Ukraine, or to build expectations about a radical shift in positions, but what is certain is that things will not go as they were in the previous two years, at the very least.

In light of the inability of both sides of the conflict to achieve a complete military resolution, the conflict machine will likely remain in a defensive position without moving to any specific offensive plans that require large resources of personnel, equipment, ammunition, and logistics, awaiting a political resolution that is difficult to achieve in the current circumstances.

And that is because the matter is not only related to the positions of Russia and Ukraine, but rather to a very complex network of international conflicts, most of which are related to shaping the world post the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars.

Alketbi Logo
Alketbi LogoSalem Alketbi