'Catastrophic Rift' for Muslims in Middle East Projected by Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said in a written statement that the Arab Spring revolutions could have very serious repercussions for the region, including widespread terrorism and a growing drug trade.

Lavrov shared in a letter to Reuters that “attempts to bring the religious factor into regional confrontations are especially troubling,” and identified illegal immigration and contraband weapons as other serious threats undermining the stability of the region after the recent political revolutions.

“If there were an open rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites – and such a threat is fully realistic – then the consequences could be catastrophic,” the foreign minister added.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has also warned that there is a danger of radical Islamists coming to power as a response to the U.S. and other western countries interfering in the Arab Spring revolutions.

After the overthrow of the governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, the world is now focusing on the situation in Syria, where thousands of activists have been killed in protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov has called for an end to the violence in the country, and earlier this month Moscow offered a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria.

However, Lavrov has warned the Western countries not to interfere in Middle East affairs, saying that it could spark a reaction from extremist groups and help them gain support in their regions.

He explained: “If you close your eyes to this part of the truth, the situation could disintegrate to what we saw in Libya. There, Western countries used the slogan of protecting civilians to overthrow the regime of M. Gaddafi.”

The foreign minister added that the Libyan precedent should not be used to resolve other conflicts.

He offered Yemen as an example of how a peaceful power transition should be accomplished, where all sides reached a compromise to resolve the conflict. He said that it was important to work “extremely patiently” and without ultimatums, and that is how the situation should also be handled in Syria. 

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