Conflicting aims, limited means: Russia in the Middle East

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Series Details No.201, May 2015
Publication Date 06/05/2015
ISSN 1989-2667
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Russia has a number of geopolitical interests in the Middle East and North Africa. These include: countering Western influence; maintaining a stable authoritarian regional order; containing Sunni violent extremism; reversing regional developments that lead to lower global energy prices; and expanding its exports of weapons and other goods.

However, Russian interests sometimes conflict, such as countering Western influence while containing radical Sunni forces, since Europe and the United States share the latter objective with Russia. Furthermore, Russia has limited means to protect its influence in the Middle East, the Arab spring removed or has threatened some key allies, and many regional actors – including those friendly to Russia – thwart Moscow’s geopolitical aims.

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