Russia in the Middle East

It may be a cliché, but that does not make it any less true: Russia has returned to the Middle East. Since intervening militarily in Syria in 2015, Russia has transformed the battlefield, saved its allies, and established itself as the driving force in international diplomacy on Syria. Meanwhile, Moscow is selling arms worth billions of dollars to Algeria and Egypt, and has teamed up with Saudi Arabia to put its thumb on the scale of global oil prices. Russia is working closely with Iran, Turkey, and Israel in Syria, and maintains relations with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and a host of other nations - many of which are hostile to each other but friendly to Russia. Looking back at Russia's rise to influence in the Middle East since the 2011 Arab Spring, it seems clear that President Vladimir Putin's successes stem less from a consistently applied strategy than from the effective, pragmatic exploitation of new opportunities and unforced Western errors. Nonetheless, there are limits to how far Russia can rise, and Putin will need to watch his step as he moves deeper into a region riddled with complex, interlocking conflicts. Even today, Moscow's regional footprint remains small next to that of the United States and, mired in economic and structural dysfunction at home, it is far from certain that the Kremlin's swelling global ambition can be sustained in the longer term. As Russia's appetite for influence increases, so do the risks. This UI Paper traces Moscow's role in the Middle East and North Africa through Soviet times to the present day. It seeks to shed light on what drives the Kremlin's engagement with the region, how local actors respond to Russian policy, and the role Russia is carving out for itself in the Middle East.


Sökhjälpöppnas i nytt fönster
 Skriv ut
Utrikespolitiska Institutet
Utrikespolitiska Institutet,
Russia in the Middle East,


Politisk aktivitet, Ryssland, Iran, Syrien, Politisk utveckling, Ekonomisk utveckling, Libanon, Israel, Libyen, Palestinska områdena