“Moscow is no longer an arbitrator; it has become an active participant in Syria’s repression. Yes, Mr Al Assad is expendable in that Russia is not committed to his indefinite political survival. However, that’s a meaningless concession when translated into the language of realpolitik, which Russia understands well. Mr Al Assad’s exit today would mean the collapse of Moscow’s Syria strategy. Mr Al Assad has managed two significant achievements. He has effectively undermined Russia’s role as intermediary, making it much more difficult for Moscow to sacrifice him at the bargaining table. And in so doing, Mr Al Assad has tied the administration of President Vladimir Putin much more tightly to his own political fate, earning vital military assistance at a crucial time.”
As the situation in Syria gets messier and repeated efforts for peace fail, Russia’s involvement becomes more complex. It now finds itself in a very difficult position where it cannot stop supporting Assad for fear of losing face in the international community but, by supporting Assad, has already lost considerable clout in the region.
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