There is an outpouring of reporting on Russian activities in Syria, and to a lesser degree other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But until now, there has been no single effort to analyze the totality of Russian objectives as well as its instruments of power, tactics and strategy in the greater Middle East or their implications for US foreign policy. This project rectifies that gap by providing the basis and material for a multi-dimensional analysis of Russian strategy and tactics in the Middle East, bringing into sharp relief the depth and scope of Moscow’s strategy.

The project will convene three workshops of published experts to address the hole in Western and, more specifically, US understanding of Russia’s goals as well as the pathways to the Kremlin’s success. The purpose of the workshops will be to bring to bear the best expert assessments on clarifying the full range of Russian objectives and the strategies involved in realizing them throughout the Middle East from various perspectives. Moreover, this project will explore Russia’s future political, economic and energy plans in the Middle East out to 2025, in addition to the implications for the United States. Finally, the project leaders intend to hold a Congressional Briefing on this strategically important subject, followed by a monograph of the analytical findings and implications collected throughout the entire scope of the effort.

For more about this project, please click here.

Now available as a bound compilation. To purchase a hard copy of Russia in the Middle East or download the free e-book, please visit the Jamestown Store.




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Below, please find the first papers to come out of this multi-disciplinary and transregional approach.

Latest Articles

Russia’s Middle Eastern Position in 2025

Summary Through 2025, Russia will continue to enjoy the prominence it now possesses in the Middle East and can be expected to succeed in this quest because it has strategically built and deployed the instruments of power necessary to sustain such a position, all things... MORE

Russia in the Middle East: Introduction

Today, Moscow is engaged across the entire Middle East in multiple and apparently mutually reinforcing ways. Apart from its military intervention in Syria, it now holds the balance between Israel and Iran as well as between Syria and Jordan. Russia makes energy pacts with Saudi... MORE

Russia in the Middle East: Energy Forever?

Summary The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an obvious target region for Russian energy diplomacy. Unlike Western European states, Russia has never had an imperial presence in the region. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union pursued the policy of supporting Arab socialist... MORE

Demography’s Pull on Russian Mideast Policy

Summary Demography is among the most underappreciated drivers of contemporary Russian policy in the Middle East. Yet Russia’s ongoing population decline—and the expansion of Russia’s own Muslim minority—has exerted significant influence over Moscow’s attitudes and activities in the region in recent years. Most immediately and... MORE

Russia’s Financial Tactics in the Middle East

Summary Russia’s strategy to build a greater presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and specifically the Persian Gulf, by using finance to influence geopolitics has become an integral part of Putin’s foreign policy. Since 2007, Russia has increasingly focused on financial... MORE

Iran’s Russian Conundrum

Summary Following Russia’s decision in September 2015 to intervene militarily in the Syrian war, speculation has been rife in Washington that President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate end-goal is to eclipse America’s long-held dominance in the Middle East. To that end: Moscow needs regional allies that can... MORE

The Foundations of Russian Policy in the Middle East

Summary There is little doubt that Russia is winning in the Middle East at the expense of the United States. This strategic development has a lengthy history: As foreign minister and later prime minister, Yevgeny Primakov laid the intellectual and political foundations for Vladimir Putin’s... MORE