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29.03.2022 Author: Yuriy Zinin

Ukraine and Middle Eastern Media: Western Masks are Off!

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The Ukrainian events have been a constant item on the agenda for media outlets of Middle Eastern countries since the start of Russia’s special operation. Observers note a never before seen information onslaught against Moscow coming from the West, when it comes to covering the Ukrainian crisis.

According to many estimates, this torrent of content is notably prejudiced and biased, intended to add fuel to the fire, overshadow the reason, hold Russia accountable for the conflict and its causes, and silence all contrary opinions in the media and social networks.

The onslaught is vigorous. Nevertheless a number of local analysts view these events as a part of the historical background as well as real experience of relations between Arabs and the West.

According to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, the West has been plotting the Ukrainian crisis betting on the triad – in military terms expanding NATO, ECB in economic terms, and on exploiting ‘democracy’ as a cover for attempts to overthrow regimes. This is what forced Russia and its leader to conduct the military operation in order to protect the space vital for Russia, which is understood by Russian citizens as well as the Chinese and the Middle East.

This view is shared by Al Jazeera viewing the major strategic faux pas of the Western faction as the reason behind the dangerous Ukrainian conflict. The West insisted on the Atlantic alliance closing in to the Russian borders. It seems, Europe and the US did not learn from the previous confrontation with Vladimir Putin over South Ossetia in 2008 and the 2014 Ukrainian events. They do not care about the clash between the two sides, the only important thing is that ‘two brother Slavic nations are bleeding’.

“The Ukrainian crisis makes us, Arabs, ask many questions regarding the Western civilization, its messages and patterns in relations with us,” argues former Minister of Education of Bahrein A. Mohammed Fakhroo. “We were subject to Western pressure for more than a century, suffered from their intervention, exploitation of our natural resources and hegemony of Western monopolies. Today it is crucial that the flames fanned by this civilization not burn us, Arabs,” he adds.

The Middle Eastern media have woefully perceived instances of open discrimination against foreigners, mostly citizens of Arab and African countries during the well documented evacuation of the refugees from Ukraine initiated by Kyiv. At the same time the media criticize Western reporters and public figures and their racist remarks about Arab and African citizens.

The media mention that Ukraine is an accomplice of the 2003 American attack on Iraq. Its troops were stationed in Kut with 18 killed in action and 17 killed later under the Polish command in Al-Qadisiyah province. That’s why it is unreasonable to expect Iraqis to sympathize with Ukrainians in the light of their participation in violence in Iraq.

A number of analysts covering the Ukrainian events emphasize hypocrisy and falsehood of West’s actions and words. As stated by the Saudi newspaper, the European conflict of February 2022 has revealed duplicity of the Western civilization that had paraded as an impeccable example for other countries for the last seventy years. It revealed the vicious racism, its deeply hidden attitude towards people of other ethnicities and cultures.

“Do the international laws and the UN Charter allow to confiscate facilities and devoid people and collectives of their livelihood, bombard with one-sided sanctions without approval from the UNSC, undertake discriminatory actions in big sports against those who are ethnically Russian and hold Russian passports,” a Lebanese lawyer asks.

Today’s attempts to present Russia as an ‘Asian threat’ comparable to the Golden Horde hanging over Europe did not go unnoticed by Arabs. Apologists of this idea manipulate historic examples, refer to the expansion of the Russian state, oriental nature of its government etc. In the present rhetoric Russians are derogatorily called ‘Asians’ while Ukrainians are called ‘Europeans’ for political and propaganda purposes.

As expressed by an Iraqi political analyst, the Ukrainian conflict clarified the unsavory nature of the Western media who bragged about their pluralism, independence, fair approach to events, open-minded opinions, etc. In the light of the recent Ukrainian situation they have smeared themselves with shame for they have eradicated or silenced other opposition voices critical to the reigning mainstream.

They have installed barriers to their competitors, Russian mass media and their supporters, banned them from conducting any activity, spreading their information in a number of European countries as it happened to RT in various languages. The communication satellites were used to impose ban on their broadcasting.

Middle Eastern experts and commentators have expressed increasingly popular opinions that the majority of Western media outlets have shed their masks during the Ukrainian events and factually rejected the freedom of expression they have spent decades caring so much about and appealing to others to do the same. Today, an Emirate publisher writes, we face an information system lying 24/7 in order to embellish the image of the current Kyiv authorities pursuing their vile political agenda. The Ukrainian conflict has brought back the cult of lying which had been developed back in the day by the imperialist West and criticized by the West itself more than once.

Yuri Zinin, a senior researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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