Middle East Peace and Security Initiative Nonresident Senior Fellow Nicholas Blanford writes for the Christian Science Monitor on the reason behind Russia’s support of the Assad regime and quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on the Obama administration’s Syria policy:
Mounting evidence suggests Russia is significantly increasing military assistance to the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in what is seen as a bid to solidify Moscow’s position in one of few Middle Eastern countries where it still has influence.
The move, analysts say, capitalizes on a low-risk opportunity created by the United States’ reticence to get more closely involved in the Syrian conflict, which has lasted for more than four years and claimed the lives of nearly a quarter million people.
“Russia sees Bashar’s continued presence as a powerful rebuke to Washington…. They see nothing in the Obama administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis that discourages them from going for it,” says Fred Hof, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.