Russia Sets Out to Bring the Middle East Under New Order

With a combination of low-cost intervention in Syria, counterterrorism resources and support for Iran, Russia is making strides in bringing the Middle East into multipolar balance. “Moscow is eyeing a new order,” explains Yale scholar Chris Miller. “The main fracture dividing the Middle East will not be between US allies and insurgent groups, the Kremlin hopes, but between fluctuating coalitions of regional states, with outside powers such as Russia and the United States playing a balancing role.” The unpopular Iraq War increased Iran’s influence over its neighbor just to the west since 2003. The United States under Obama reduced involvement in the region, leaving an opening for Russia, which strengthened ties with Iran. Other regional powers and US allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel – also improved ties with Russia with the hope of countering Iranian influence.

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