Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)
IAI Working Papers 1226
Camilla Committeri
October 2012

Summary: The Syrian crisis has divided the international community like no other Arab uprising has done so far. While the United States and the European Union stand squarely against the Syrian regime, Russia remains a staunch defender of state sovereignty and the Assad regime. There are three main factors that explain this position: Moscow’s historical relations with Damascus; Russia’s traditional opposition to US presence in the Middle East; and the sur ge in domestic opposition in Russia itself. This last factor, and the recent evolution of Russian domestic politics, is crucial to grasp Moscow’s foreign policy towards Syria and the Middle East, as well as towards the United States and Europe.

When Domestic Factors Prevail upon Foreign Ambitions: Russia’s Strategic Game in Syria