In "Russia's Policy in the Middle East," Dmitri Trenin maps the complicated relationship between Russia and the Middle East, and how Russia's renewed involvement in the region will have far-reaching effects on American foreign policy. Russia, by the mid-2000s, had recovered from its domestic crisis, and so did its global ambitions. While Moscow’s principal interests still lie mostly toward the west, the Middle East is back on Moscow’s radar screen and Russia’s withdrawal from the region has been reversed.
The Middle East is important to Moscow for several reasons – its physical proximity; the Muslim factor, as continuing religious and political turbulence within the Muslim world brings radical ideas and militants from the Middle East into Russia and impacts Russia’s policy in the Caucasus, the central Russian republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, and post-Soviet Central Asia; large emigration from Russia to Israel, where 20 percent of the population are former Soviet Jews; the energy riches of the region; and Russian attention to the current U.S. focus on the region, and American military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reprinted with permission from The Century Foundation.