Since its pivotal intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015, Russia has sought to position itself as a major player in the Middle East, establishing itself as a rare broker that is on good terms with all of the region’s feuding powers.
Now Moscow has a fresh chance to solidify that reputation. Russian President Vladimir Putin will look to boost his country’s standing in the Middle East following the Trump administration’s decision to assassinate the Iranian military leader Qassem Suleimani last week and Iran’s missile attack against U.S. air bases in Iraq on Tuesday, which have roiled the Middle East and pushed Iran and the United States to the brink of war. The escalating situation raises the stakes for Moscow’s calculus in the region significantly, but it also provides Putin with new opportunities to achieve two of his long-standing goals: undermining U.S. credibility and expanding Russia’s footprint across the Middle East.
Read the full story and more in Foreign Policy.