January 28, 2021

The End of the “Wrong Side of History”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

President Barack Obama, in criticizing Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s conquest of the Crimean Peninsula, described Putin as standing on the "wrong side of history."  This curious and arresting phrase has become a common usage among western liberals.   It is testimony to their self-confidence, and to their belief that they have accurately read the deeper currents and inevitable direction of human affairs.  These, in the view of the president and his supporters, point … [Read more...]

Confrontation in Kiev

jonathan-spyer

Ukraine events showcase Russian strength, Western confusion with the Jews caught on the fringe Kiev’s Euro-Square (the renamed Independence Square) was roiling with anger and confusion in the frozen late afternoon of December 17. Word had just come through of the deal between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart, Vladmir Putin, to cut gas prices and purchase Ukrainian government bonds. Putin had apparently outflanked the protesters who were demanding … [Read more...]

When the Immovable Force Meets Jello: The Syrian Civil War

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad in Syria, May 2010.

"Remember the war against Franco? That’s the kind where each of us belongs. Though he may have won all the battles, We had all the good songs!" –"The Folk Song Army," Tom Lehrer The United States is depending on a partner that denies to the UN that Syria even carried out a chemical attack (See: "Russia: Aug 21 Syria Chemical Attack Was ‘Staged’"). The Asad regime, which has ruled Syria since 1963 (happy 50th anniversary!), has the backing of Iran and Russia. What do you think … [Read more...]

Russia-Iran Axis Gets Access

barry-rubin

The original supposed intent of this whole Syria exercise--punishing Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons--achieved zero. In fact,  it backfired.Was this a pay-off for the Putin-Syria deal to get Iran to agree? Is it an advantage the Kremlin grabbed to show Russia can do anything it wants now? If so it was a heavy one indeed. Pay close attention.Russian media reported Moscow is selling Iran five batteries of S-300 missiles for $700 million. The sale was frozen three years ago when the … [Read more...]

Arab World: Feigning Concern?

jonathan-spyer

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week expressedconcerns regarding new Russian supplies of helicopter gunships to the Assad regime in Syria. Washington has confronted Russia on its continued shipments to Assad, she said. Clinton did not go into detail regarding the nature and form of this alleged confrontation with Russia. But her evident surprise regarding Russian export of advanced attack helicopters to Syria is strange. The Syrian Air Force’s fleet of attack … [Read more...]

Assad’s Russian Lifeline

jonathan-spyer

The port of Oktyabrsk is situated on the left bank of the Bug River, 58 km. north of the entry to the Black Sea. Close to the city of Nikolayev, this anonymous Ukrainian port could not seem further from the strife-torn Middle East. Yet in the last year, Oktyabrsk has played a key role in the international structure that enables the survival of the Assad dictatorship in Syria. It is the main point from which ships bearing the Russian arms that underwrite the Assad regime’s survival set off … [Read more...]

What is Russia Doing in the Middle East?

barry-rubin

The transition to democracy and capitalism has not been kind to Russia. It sank from superpower to sideshow internationally. The country is hurting and stagnant; it has no sense of purpose or goals; and Russia is in the hands of a ruthless dictator who knows how to use nationalism and demagoguery to ensure his power. Of course, Russia’s rulers are weaker, less ambitious, far less well armed, and less anti-American than the old Soviet Union.  Still, though, the Russian government has a chip … [Read more...]

Anticlimax: Sanctions on Iran, (Slightly) Increased at Last

barry-rubin

We depend on your contributions. Tax-deductible donation through PayPal or credit card: click Donate button, upper-right hand corner of this page. By check: "American Friends of IDC." "For GLORIA Center" on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Floor, NY, NY 10003.After more than 16 months in office, the Obama Administration has gotten through the UN a new set of sanctions on Iran. In theory, this should be a moment of great triumph for the U.S. government and yet … [Read more...]

The Obama Administration’s Middle East Disaster: A Brief Summary

barry-rubin

We depend on your contributions. To make a tax-deductible donation through PayPal or credit card, click the Donate button in the upper-right hand corner of this page. To donate via check, make it out to "American Friends of IDC," with "for GLORIA Center" in the memo line. Mail to: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10003.Every day I wake up hoping to have good news to report about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. There are some positive … [Read more...]

Obama Administration Embraces Russia As “Helpful”; Moscow Stabs U.S. in Back

barry-rubin

We depend on your contributions. To make a tax-deductible contribution through PayPal click the Donate button on this page. For more options, go HERE. We depend on your contributions. Thanks to all who have given already!Note: I have written a different and complementary article for Pajamas Media, "Syria, Iran, and Turkey Openly Defy Obama, as Russia Regains Mideast Influence," that looks at the wider strategic implications of the events discussed below. I suggest, if you want, you look at the … [Read more...]