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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid