Cover Osteuropa 10-12/2018

In Osteuropa 10-12/2018

Horrors without end
Russia in the Syrian war

Valery Dzutsati, Emil Souleimanov

Deutsche Fassung


Russia has been a participant in the war in Syria since 2015. On entering the war, the Kremlin was pursuing three goals: to stabilise the Assad regime, to deflect attention from its own war in eastern Ukraine, and to change the balance of power in Syria and in the Middle East to suit its own needs. Behind this was the hope that the West might lift sanctions against Russia in exchange for the right to have a say on the direction developments should take there. However, Russia has failed almost entirely to achieve these aims. While the Assad regime may control large swathes of the country in military terms, Russia’s estrangement from the West runs deeper than ever. The Syrian war is unpopular at home, yet withdrawal from Syria is a difficult process. The Assad regime is politically unstable, and peace is a far-off prospect. Russia’s partial allies, Iran and Turkey, are pursuing interests that conflict with its own. And Russia risks becoming caught up between the two fronts in the conflict between Israel and Iran.

This is a revised version of a previously published article: Valery Dzutsati, Emil A. Souleimanov: Russia's War: A Strategic Trap? in: Middle East Policy 25.2 (2018): 42-50.

(Osteuropa 10-12/2018, pp. 381–392)