In an interview with the BBC, Carnegie’s Matthew Rojansky argued that Russia’s influence and legitimacy in the Middle East are at an all-time low. Russia’s support for the Syrian government represents “the last nail in the coffin of what used to be a pretty substantial role for Russia during the Cold War,” Rojansky said. From the perspective of ordinary Arabs and the Arab League, “Russia is standing absolutely on the wrong side of this issue.” He noted that Russian state television continues to portray protestors as terrorists who are “seeking to bring down legitimate governments” – a reference to anti-government protestors in the Arab world and in Russia. In the end, he concluded, Russia’s main interest in blocking UN sanctions against the Assad regime is to prevent NATO intervention in Syria.
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