While there are a number of reasons behind Moscow’s stance on Syria, confronting the West and increasing tension in their relations with the broader Middle East is at odds with Russia’s wider interests.
Though Beijing has typically remained cautiously neutral when it comes to the region, China’s current stance may reflect its growing disquiet at what it sees as a U.S. policy intended to deny it access to Middle East energy sources.
The Russian government's support for the Assad regime and refusal to endorse UN sanctions against Syria has earned Moscow condemnation from Arab citizens and diplomats alike.
Moscow’s position on Syria is primarily shaped by the recent experience of Libya, strong doubts concerning the Syrian opposition, and suspicions about U.S. motives.
Russia's position on Syria is often described as a result of Damascus being Moscow's political ally, a major arms client, and a fellow authoritarian regime, but the reality is more complex.
Syria has entered a “hurting stalemate” that may last months rather than years. The regime is unable to suppress the revolt, but the opposition seems equally unable to demonstrate effective operational control over an increasingly messy situation on the ground.
The Arab League's observer missions in Syria are unlikely to succeed, but they will continue for the rest of the year as external military intervention is highly unlikely
An international commitment to keep weapons of mass destruction out of Saddam Hussein’s hands could have worked and led to a WMD enforcement mechanism for use not only in Iraq, but also in North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere.
Upheaval in Syria and the imminent U.S. withdrawal from Iraq mark a potentially massive power shift in the Middle East which could bring new opportunities for peace, and risks of war, for Israel, Syria, and Lebanon.
What happens in Syria will have a huge impact on the rest of the region, and if the Assad government were to fall, it would be a big strategic blow to Iran.