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Putin and Assad

Events shape Russian behavior.

Geopolitics and Transnational Threats

July 2014, Number 05.03

“Russia’s enduring support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot be sufficiently explained by Russian hostility toward Western interventionism or other common causal narratives. From Moscow’s point of view, the growing radical Islamism among Syria’s insurgents threatens three key areas of Russian geostrategic interest: the Islamic and turbulent North Caucasus within Russia’ s borders, the fragile influence of Russia in the South Caucasus, and the stability of the autocracies in Central Asia. Russia tries to retain its interests in these areas by supporting the Assad regime. With an ever less likely diplomatic or military solution in Syria, the West will only be able to mitigate the Syrians’ plight by taking Russia’s interests into account.

Russia continues its strong diplomatic, economic and military support of the Assad regime. Moscow’s rhetoric and behavior at the United Nations is the most visible sign of its patronage of Assad. Wielding its veto power at the Security Council, Russia repeatedly put down diplomatic initiatives to exert pressure on Damascus, resisting any effort that might lead to effective sanctions or intervention. In the fall of 2013, Russia played a major role in averting Western intervention...”

Excerpt from Jonas J. Driedger, “Geopolitics and Transnational Threats,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  5, No. 3, 2014: 30-35.

Jonas J. Driedger is a Russia and Ukraine conflict analyst for the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research. He specializes in civil wars, Russian and European security and foreign policy. He holds degrees in politics, philosophy and history and is pursuing postgraduate studies at the College of Europe, Natolin campus, Warsaw, Poland.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.