The Russian government may be changing its attitude towards Syria and penalizing the Assad regime for failing to heed Moscow's advice.
The fact that the Red Cross has appealed to Putin for authorization to provide humanitarian relief to Syria proves that Russia has become an indispensable player in dealing with the Assad regime.
Russia has the opportunity to move beyond saving the doomed Syrian regime to save the country itself from civil war and devastation and to bring about a political transition that leads to a stable and democratic Syria.
While the world’s democracies have discussed the options for bringing a stop to the slaughter in Syria, far less time has been spent identifying the options that remain for Assad himself.
Although Russia has already missed its opportunity to salvage key political and economic interests in Syria, it will likely continue to oppose foreign military intervention and efforts aimed at regime change.
While Turkey considers its options and resolutions stall in the United Nations, Ankara is preparing for a post-Assad Syria, developing contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Syrian opposition forces.
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.