A Method to the Madness: The Logic of Russia’s Syrian Counterinsurgency Strategy

The Russian military has established a number of bases in the Alawite heartland, preserved the Black Sea fleet’s access to the Syrian port of Tartus, and now has the ability to project power throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. More broadly, Russia has also succeeding in cementing a military relationship with the leading Shiite powers in the Middle East — namely Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah and the rump Assad regime. The parties established two command centers — one in Baghdad and one in Damascus — and now constitute a potentially formidable Middle Eastern axis. For the first time since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat booted Soviet forces from Egypt in 1973, Russia is firmly ensconced in the Middle East.

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