Moscow’s Middle East Balancing Act Is Getting Harder

Vladimir Putin

by Mark N. Katz So far, Moscow has managed to maintain good relations with opposing sides in several Middle East conflict situations, including Iran vs. Israel, Israel vs. Syria and Hezbollah, Israel vs. the Palestinians, Iran vs. Saudi Arabia and… Continue Reading  

New Caspian Accord Resolves Some Issues, Not All

Old Soviet Volga car and abandoned oil rig on the shore of Caspian sea, Azerbaijan (Shutterstock)

by Mark N. Katz Ever since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the five states bordering the Caspian Sea (Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran) have been unable to reach agreement on a legal regime for the body… Continue Reading  

Putin Benefits from Trump’s Anti-Iran Sanctions

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by Mark N. Katz Russia is the one country that has arguably benefited the most from the Trump administration’s insistence that other countries (including America’s Western allies) reduce their petroleum imports from Iran to zero or face U.S. sanctions. Both… Continue Reading  

Putin and Netanyahu: Converging Interests?

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by Mark N. Katz In the wake of President Trump’s announcement of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord and the direct clashes between Israeli and Iranian forces in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow to… Continue Reading  

Moscow and the U.S.-led Attack on Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2015 (Wikimedia Commons)

by Mark N. Katz Many observers have already pointed out how the latest U.S.-British-French attack on three of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons facilities has not done much to harm the Assad regime. Indeed, it has not even ended Assad’s… Continue Reading