What Hamadan Says About the Fragility of Russian-Iranian Ties

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by Mark N. Katz Just one week after Russian bombers began flying missions over Syria out of an Iranian air base in Hamadan, Tehran has revoked its permission for Moscow to use the base. These missions never would have begun… Continue Reading  

Why Has Tehran Allowed Russian Bombers to Use an Iranian Base?

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by Mark N. Katz In a highly dramatic development, Russian bombers have begun using an Iranian base for bombing missions over Syria. Why Moscow would want to do this is clear: flight time to Syria is much shorter from northwestern Iran… Continue Reading  

Is Saudi Arabia Really Inviting Russia to Play a Bigger Role in the Middle East?

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by Mark N. Katz Much attention was generated by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir’s interview with politico.eu. The minister appeared to offer Russia an economic lifeline from Western sanctions through economic access to the Gulf Cooperation Council—the grouping of the… Continue Reading  

Regional Impact of Russia’s Drawdown from Syria

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by Mark N. Katz Just as it does for the Bashar al-Assad regime and its internal opponents, Russia’s announced drawdown of forces from Syria raises uncertainties for regional powers with stakes in the ongoing conflict there. Some in Saudi Arabia… Continue Reading  

Interpreting Putin’s Surprise Move in Syria

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by Mark N. Katz Putin shocked the world last September when he sent Russian forces to intervene in Syria. He shocked the world again this week when he announced that he was withdrawing the main part of those forces.