The Syrian crisis is dividing the international community like no other Arab uprising has done so far. While the United States and the European Union stand squarely against the Syrian regime, Russia remains a staunch defender of state sovereignty and the Al-Assad regime. There are three main factors that explain this position: Moscow's historical relations with Damascus; Russia's traditional opposition to US presence in the Middle East; and the surge in domestic opposition in Russia itself. This last factor, and the recent evolution of Russian domestic politics, is crucial to grasp Moscow's foreign policy towards Syria and the Middle East, as well as towards the United States and Europe.
1. The Syrian crisis and Russia: the evolution of an upheaval
2. Moscow's partnership with Damascus: an alliance dating back to the Cold War
3. The Soviet Union's/Russia's foreign policy in the Middle East
4. Russia's domestic drivers underpinning support for the Al-Assad regime