News / Middle East

Kremlin’s Syria Policy Hurts Russia’s Position in Arab World

Kremlin Syria Policy Hurts Russia In The Arab Worldi
X
December 24, 2012 11:20 PM
In the days of the Soviet Union, Moscow was a major player in the Arab world. But in the last two years, the Kremlin has repeatedly backed the losing sides in the Arab Spring. James Brooke reports from Lebanon on how people see Russia’s policy on Syria.

Kremlin Syria Policy Hurts Russia In The Arab World

James Brooke
In the days of the Soviet Union, Moscow was a major player in the Arab world. But in the last two years, the Kremlin has repeatedly backed the losing sides in the Arab Spring.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is using Russian-made rockets, rifles and tanks to battle rebels.

But in Moscow, Russian officials are trying to put daylight between the Kremlin and the Assad government. Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Kremlin is not concerned about the fate of the Assad regime, which has ruled Syria for four decades, and that changes are needed. But Russia is worried about what will come next.

How does Russia’s position play in Anjar, a Lebanese border town clogged with Syrian refugees?

Deeb Abdel Khalik runs charity groups helping refugees from the same Syrian Muslim branch that is rebelling against President Assad.
He says Arabs now face two Israels -- Israel and its sister, Russia.

Inside Syria, Sunni rebels are threatening to kill Russian speakers, starting with Anhar Kochneva, a Ukrainian journalist kidnapped last month. In two weeks, a Russian naval task force is to reach Syrian waters to be ready to help in the possible evacuation of Russians.

In Tripoli, a northern Lebanese city, Sunni Sheikh Walid Taboush says Russia has lost support throughout the Arab world.

He says Russia does not care about the Syrian people, or the whole of the Arab world.
Only one kilometer away, but on the far side of the Muslim world’s deep sectarian divide, Abo Ali Zoumar leads a Lebanese militia of the same Alawite Shia sect as Syria’s ruling clan. He praises Russia’s position.

He says Russia’s position is honorable. He praises President Putin for remaining loyal to a friend, in good times and bad.

But in the mathematics of Islam, about 80 percent of Muslims in the world are Sunni, including almost all of Russia’s Muslims. The only two major Shia-controlled nations are Syria and Iran.

In Beirut, Paul Salem is a policy analyst directing the Carnegie Middle East Center. He says President Putin has made a losing bet on Syria’s president.

"The reading from here is a kind of incomprehension that the Russians would take such a strong position on an apparently losing bet, and continue to insist on going down with the ship as it were,“ Salen said.

Salem says this is undermining Russia’s influence in the Arab world.

“This has certainly damaged Russia’s image, Russia’s profile, in the Middle East, in the Arab world, in the Muslim world in general. It comes at a pretty high price, with almost no gain," Salem said.

After backing the losing sides in Arab Spring revolutions in Tunisia, in Egypt and in Libya, is Russia doing it again -- in Syria?

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hui Guan from: China
January 07, 2013 2:50 AM
A very detestable article from VOA once again. This war is not Shia vs Sunni, it is NATO and the US using the pretext of democracy to bring down a country using mercenaries, terrorists and their attack dogs Turkey and Qatar. Tell it like it is, the people know exactly what is going on.


by: Nixon from: USA
December 27, 2012 1:42 AM
Russia don't care Muslim, or Christian or whatever. Only Money ,who buy their weapon or soil or whatever. Now Russia don't care to be Mislim country or Christian, but Money and Power. Whoever good or bad He against if he can have money. Fair or not no problem.


by: yusef from: Puerto Rico, your colony.
December 25, 2012 7:50 AM
Your article is full of incosistencies and half-truths. The U.S. supports Israel which is hated in the Arab world and which is an enemy of Sunni and Christian Palestinians. Mubarack was your puppet, he was not really a Russian ally, and the Tunisian dictator was a French puppet. The US is supporting the Saudi Wahabi totalitarian monarchy which is oppossed to the Arab Spring. Many religious Sunnis despise the Wahabis and the Wahabis despise Shiites,Sufis and other Sunni sects. Many Sunnis are secular or arab nationalists. Your analysis is too sectarian, you are supporting the line of a state that is anti-christian, anti-women , and that created Al-Qaeda.


by: Jim from: Ca
December 25, 2012 1:04 AM
"The only two major Shia-controlled nations are Syria and Iran."

Ennngggkkk!

Forgot Iraq so soon?


by: Anonymous
December 24, 2012 11:49 PM
Did the author of this article think that the USA is the one being USED by a skilful Muslim Brotherhood? Who I may add does NOT share the same vision of democracy that the American people know, not even remotely.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid