Shifting Sands: The Middle East and North Africa in Russia's War in Ukraine

October 25th, 2022 · 40 mins 27 secs

About this Episode

On this episode, Misha speaks with Middle East expert Nicole Robinson who expounds on how MENA countries have responded to Russia's War in Ukraine and the reasons why. Ms. Robinson sheds some light on the future of the region as the conflict evolves and Russia's capacity to arm and feed its regional allies dwindles. Furthermore, she suggests that Russia's declining influence may allow for other actors to increase their influence in the Middle East region -- actors such as China, for example, which is one of the biggest recipients of oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf. Ms. Robinson says it's unwise for the US to take a step back in the Middle East when it is geographically and strategically the region that is situated in between giants. This war is not only shifting great power competition, but also changing "how each of these countries think about their bilateral relationships."

For more on Russia's War in Syria, listen to Ret. Col. Robert E. Hamilton's episode here:


Nicole Robinson is a senior research associate in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, focusing on Middle East Policy. She researches and writes on economic, security, and political challenges facing the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular focus on the Levant region. Among other topics, she has written on women’s empowerment and domestic developments in Iran, Lebanon, and Yemen. Before joining Heritage, Nicole lived in Jordan for a year and half, studying at the University of Jordan and working at the Stabilisation Network and Near East Foundation.She is fluent in Arabic and is continuing to expand her knowledge about the Middle East. Nicole received her Master’s Degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She was born and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota, and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

PRODUCER'S NOTE: This episode was recorded on October 21st, 2022 via Zoom.

If you have questions, comments, or would like to be a guest on the show, please email and we will be in touch!

Assistant Producer/Host: Misha Simanovskyy (@MSimanovskyy)
Associate Producer: Lera Toropin (@earlportion)
Associate Producer: Cullan Bendig (@cullanwithana)
Assistant Producer: Sergio Glajar
Assistant Producer: Taylor Ham
Social Media Manager: Eliza Fisher
Supervising Producer: Katherine Birch
Recording, Editing, and Sound Design: Michelle Daniel

Music Producer: Charlie Harper (@charlieharpermusic) (Main Theme by Charlie Harper and additional background music by Broke For Free, Shaolin Dub, "Karma" by Kazka)

Executive Producer & Creator: Michelle Daniel (@M_S_Daniel)

DISCLAIMER: Texas Podcast Network is brought to you by The University of Texas at Austin. Podcasts are produced by faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications to craft content that adheres to journalistic best practices. The University of Texas at Austin offers these podcasts at no charge. Podcasts appearing on the network and this webpage represent the views of the hosts, not of The University of Texas at Austin.