Will Russia Lose 2 Wars at the Same Time?
Russia has cut the amount of gas it is sending to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, pictured here in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lubmin, Germany on August 30, 2022. Stefan Sauer/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Image

Will Russia Lose 2 Wars at the Same Time?

Al-Rai, Kuwait, September 20

Russia is currently facing two wars: the first is on the battlefield, in Ukraine; the second is the battle over its oil and gas exports. Will Russia lose these two wars simultaneously? We certainly don’t want to speculate or endorse one political party over another, but we, in Kuwait, know what the Ukrainians are undergoing. Under Saddam Hussein’s invasion, our country was also taken over by a foreign military led by a dictator thirsty for power. And, just like is the case with Ukraine, we also witnessed the world stand idly by as our country was invaded and destroyed. As a result of recent events on the ground, the question arises: Has Russia really lost the energy war by pushing the West away from ever relying on Russian oil and gas? Although over 50% of European oil and gas comes from Russia – and despite the fact that some European countries, such as Germany and Norway, are even connected to Russia’s energy infrastructure through the Nord 1 and Nord 2 pipelines – the Europeans are moving away from Russian energy resources. Consequently, Europe may quickly find itself without any credible gas and oil resources, forcing it to find and secure energy sources elsewhere in the world. European states now have to rationalize their use of energy. The clearest examples are the decisions to turn off the lights of the famous Eiffel Tower in the heart of Paris at 10 pm and to ask the British public to limit shower times to 4 minutes. Europe must also invest in port infrastructure that will support the docking of giant gas tankers. If it doesn’t have a workforce trained to do so, it will have to find that talent abroad. Ironically, over the past few years, Europe has relied on a single Russian energy source, and even agreed to build and manufacture Russian refineries and basic facilities in European territory. In Germany, there are three Russian refineries owned by the Russian company Rosneft, which supplies oil derivatives to Berlin and its surrounding areas, including fuel for cars, aircraft, and other products. It must now find alternative energy sources in a short period of time. If Europe manages to get past this critical stage of identifying alternative energy providers, Russia may actually lose the energy war. This will become true come next December, when the European boycott on the entire Russian energy sector will kick in. Even if the Europeans struggle to identify alternative energy sources, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for EU states to return to an age of dependence on Russian energy. Moscow will have to search for new, more distant markets that will counterbalance the losses it will incur from diminished European sales. I’ll let you readers judge whether Russia will win or lose the war; but the fact remains that a double loss, on both the battlefield and the energy front, would be extremely painful for the Kremlin. – Kamel Abdullah Al-Harami (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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