Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently been devoting considerable time and attention to diplomacy regarding the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Washington faces a crucial decision on Syria in the coming weeks, with massive implications for its entire Middle East agenda.
The budding efforts between the Gulf Arab states and Iran to develop a process of détente and ease tensions are, in equal measure, important, welcome, and fragile.
The overall improvement in U.S.-Russian relations that the new Trump administration envisioned has not materialized as Washington and Moscow continue to disagree on a number of important issues.
Moscow increasingly aspires to play the role of mediator in the Middle East, but how seriously should we take this? Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, has been attempting to mediate between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some of its opponents in negotiations in the Kazakh capital, Astana, and in Geneva.
The administration of President Donald J. Trump has suggested that one of its foreign policy goals may be to attempt to persuade Russia to distance itself from Iran and even cooperate with the United States against Tehran.
With the Trump administration about to take office, the Russian position in the Middle East appears quite strong.
Just one week after Russian bombers began flying missions over Syria out of an Iranian air base in Hamadan, Tehran has revoked its permission for Moscow to use the base.
Can the GCC states that are most anxious for a change in Russian policy toward Syria and Iran do anything to encourage such a shift?
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