What Russia Wants, and Has Always Wanted, in the Middle East

Sept. 4 2020

“Nothing is stranger,” writes the historian Robert Service, “than the notion, widely held, that Russia is a newcomer to the Middle East.” Tracing the development of Russian interventions in the region from Catherine the Great’s 18th-century conquests, which brought her empire to the borders of the Ottoman empire, to Vladimir Putin’s current involvement in Syria and Libya, Service calls attention to the constant themes of hostility toward the Turks and competition with the Western powers. But he also notes an ideological component:

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Read more at Caravan

More about: Middle East, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy, Vladimir Putin

Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel

Sept. 17 2021

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events:

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war