How Vladimir Putin Sees the Middle East – Michael Doran
(from dailyalert.org, Mar. 27, 2014)
When Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stepped forward last September with an offer to strip Syria’s Bashar al-Assad of his chemical weapons, President Obama saw the move as a breakthrough. Secretary of State John Kerry and Lavrov also conspired to launch Geneva II, a peace conference designed to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian civil war. In the dawning new era, Syria was seen by the White House as a prototype: a model for stabilizing the Middle East. If successful, it could be applied to other problems in the region, including the Iranian nuclear program.
Just six months later, the new model is collapsing. In fact, it never had a chance. In Putin’s view, all accommodations with the U.S. are tactical maneuvers in a struggle for the upper hand. The Kremlin sees itself as the great-power patron not just of the Assad regime but also of Iran and Hizbullah – the entire Resistance Alliance.
In the end, Putin will never sell out Tehran and Damascus in order to win compliments in Washington; if forced to choose, he will always side with the former against the latter, and will certainly leave them in no doubt that Russia is their most dependable friend in the UN Security Council. It is this fact that makes Russia a revisionist power in the Middle East and the permanent adversary of the U.S.
The writer, a senior fellow of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the U.S. National Security Council. (Mosaic)
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)