Syria and Russia renewing Cold War ties?

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images All the bluster of a “new Cold War” of late has been a bit much for my tastes. Recent developments in the Middle East, however, have been hard to ignore: As Syria renews its Soviet-era close ties with Moscow, many here fear that the Middle East could once again become a theatre ...

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593122_080820_syria5.jpg

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

All the bluster of a "new Cold War" of late has been a bit much for my tastes. Recent developments in the Middle East, however, have been hard to ignore:

As Syria renews its Soviet-era close ties with Moscow, many here fear that the Middle East could once again become a theatre for the two great powers to exert their spheres of influence, militarily and politically, in the volatile region.

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

All the bluster of a “new Cold War” of late has been a bit much for my tastes. Recent developments in the Middle East, however, have been hard to ignore:

As Syria renews its Soviet-era close ties with Moscow, many here fear that the Middle East could once again become a theatre for the two great powers to exert their spheres of influence, militarily and politically, in the volatile region.

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visits Russia today seeking deals for new missile systems, he’s been dutifully trumpeting the Kremlin’s party line on Georgia. He accused the West of “total disinformation, distorting facts and attempts at international isolation” (and he would know a bit about international isolation) but also took aim at Israel’s alleged role in the conflict in the Caucasus:

Moreover, the West and Israel continue to put pressure on Russia. … I think that in Russia and in the world everyone is now aware of Israel’s role and its military consultants in the Georgian crisis.

(Israel says its government does not sell arms to other countries but its private firms are free to do so.)

In the wake of recent indirect talks between Israel and Syria, it would be a shame for Russia’s resurgance to ruin any potential progress. As an editorial in The Asia Times notes, the very same neoconservatives who want to escalate the showdown with Russia may be harming their interest in the security of Israel at the same time.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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