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dkf

(37,305 posts)
Tue Oct 1, 2013, 03:34 PM Oct 2013

Russia seeks to fill vacuum in the Middle East

BEIRUT — Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union affirmed the United States as the dominant power in the Middle East, a resurgent Russia is seeking ways large and small to fill the vacuum left by the departure of American troops from Iraq and the toppling of U.S. allies in the Arab Spring revolts.

The recent diplomacy that averted a U.S. strike on Syria underscored the extent to which Moscow’s steadfast support for its last remaining Arab ally has helped reassert Russia’s role. Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as the world leader with the single biggest influence over the outcome of a raging war that is threatening the stability of the wider region, winning concessions from both President Bashar al-
Assad and President Obama to secure a U.N. resolution requiring Syria to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal.

Less conspicuously, Russia has been nurturing new alliances and reviving old friendships further afield, reaching out to countries long regarded as being within the American sphere of influence in ways that echo the superpower rivalries of the Cold War era.

Those countries include Egypt and Iraq, traditional Arab heavyweights that have been exploring closer ties with Moscow at a time when the Obama administration has signaled a reluctance to become too deeply embroiled in the region’s turmoil.

http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-seeks-to-fill-vacuum-in-the-middle-east/2013/09/30/7e7124cc-27c7-11e3-9372-92606241ae9c_story.html

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