Putin and the Shiite "Axis of Resistance"

(The Hill) David Schenker - Russia's military deployment in Syria is a strategic boon for the Shiite "Axis of Resistance." In the aftermath of Russia's deployment of an expeditionary force in Syria, new posters have appeared in Damascus featuring images of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with an Arabic caption that roughly translates: "Men who bow to no one but God." A de facto division of labor between Russia and the U.S. on Syria has Moscow whacking the most proximate threat to Assad's regime, the relatively more moderate opposition - including militias purportedly receiving U.S. support - and Washington bombing ISIS. Working in tandem, the U.S. and Russian campaigns are effectively insulating the Syrian regime from the threat of imminent collapse. At the same time, the U.S.-Russian understanding preserves Iranian equities in Syria and protects Tehran's proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah. Not surprisingly, many of the region's Sunnis view the developing U.S.-Russian condominium in Syria as a sign that Washington now views Russia and Iran as forces for stability. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2015-10-09 00:00:00

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