Russia and Conflicts in the Middle East: Regionalisation and Implications for the West
While Russia’s Syria campaign initially was meant largely as a trump card in its troubled relations with the West, it also upgraded Russia’s standing in the region, which stimulated its growing interest in regional partnerships and in the Middle East per se. However, Russia’s relative success in gaining influence in the Middle East is due not only to its involvement in Syria, but also to its ability to grasp and adjust to the growing role of regional processes and dynamics and its readiness to play with key regional powers as an equal. This ability developed gradually, reflecting and building upon Russia’s practice of reaching out to multiple partners, as well as its non-ideological approach, pragmatism and cultural relativism. The West’s real problem in the region is not with Russia, but with accepting and adapting to the main regional trend today – the regionalisation of politics and security in the Middle East.
Keywords: Russia, Middle East, Syria, regionalisation, conflict management