The long-term ramifications of the conflict in Ukraine remain to be seen, but there are nonetheless some clear implications for the effect that this will have on global security and stability. For the Middle East, these effects have already manifested in critical areas including food and energy shortages and price increases, which will impact countries’ capacities to weather these supply and price shocks. Policy responses to inflationary pressures have varied across the region, depending on the extent of their dependency on key commodities, and their own internal resources, with energy exporters expected to fare better in this situation because of their ability to limit or ban exports to protect their domestic supplies, or to benefit from the increasing prices while addressing global demand. An underlying risk to the region, however, beyond the immediate concerns for food and energy security, is that this could act as a driver for a new wave of civil dissatisfaction and social unrest in the form of popular protests, thereby exacerbating some relatively dormant discontent that may threaten governance and general stability.
The conflict in Ukraine has also emphasized the possibility for the reallocation of international assistance, and what this would mean for countries that would struggle without sustained support for their own humanitarian challenges stemming from migration, displacement, and the refugee crisis. These issues highlight the potential for fundamental shifts in the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states, which may be prompted to evaluate their strategic relations with external global powers and how to best come to terms with the new geopolitical realities. Another noteworthy element of the crisis that warrants closer attention from the region is that of the Russian control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and managing nuclear security in times of crisis. For many countries in the Middle East that have either embarked on or are planning to develop nuclear power programs, these programs will need to be carefully assessed in order to ensure their ability to maintain safety and security standards and to mitigate the effects of such external shocks.