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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
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