In coordination with Iran, Russia has been steadily building up its position inside of Syria. President Vladimir Putin has sent combat planes, ships, technicians, engineers, marines, and special forces units. Although American policymakers have suggested that the Russians are there to fight the Islamic State, Moscow has made its intentions clear—they are there to defend Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. And by building an air force base and expanding its current naval facility at Tartus, Putin’s larger purpose appears to challenge the United States as the Middle East’s power broker.
How will Russia’s incursion into Syria shape the ongoing conflict? How will it affect the three American allies on Syria’s borders, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey? Does Putin’s increasingly assertive behavior signal the erosion of American influence in the Middle East? If so, how would the next White House change course?
On September 29th, Hudson Institute hosted a timely discussion of these issues with an expert panel moderated by Lee Smith and featuring Michael Doran, Hannah Thoburn, and Tony Badran.