Comparing Putin’s and Brezhnev’s Policies toward the Middle East

Research paper by Mark N. Katz

Indexed on: 02 Feb '08Published on: 02 Feb '08Published in: Society


This article compares Moscow’s and Washington’s foreign policies toward the Middle East in 1982 and 2008. In 1982, Moscow and Washington each had a distinct set of friends and foes. In 2008, Washington still has a distinct set of friends and foes, but Moscow has relatively good relations with all governments and most major opposition movements in the region—the only exceptions being Al Qaeda and its affiliates. It is argued that Putin’s policy toward the Middle East is not really aimed at displacing the U.S. in the region, but protecting Russia and Russian interests from Al Qaeda and its allies. Indeed, a continued American presence in the region serves to protect Russian interests in the region.