Russia’s policy in the Middle East imperilled by the Syrian intervention

The military intervention launched by Russia in Syria in September 2015 has altered the character of this protracted civil war and – quite remarkably – has both advanced and jeopardised Russia’s positions in the Middle East. This risky experiment in power projection constitutes a continuation of traditional Russian policy in this rapidly transforming region, but is also a departure from the strategy of careful manoeuvring aimed at exploiting the confusion in U.S. and European policies. Quite possibly the main drivers for this proactive move were either domestic factors or issues related to the confrontation with the West caused by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. The present analysis, however, deals only with the Middle Eastern contexts, aims and consequences of this enterprise.