Deciphering Russian Policy on Syria: What Happened…and What’s Next
Since the Arab Spring arrived in Syria in 2011, Russia has strongly supported the Assad regime’s efforts to suppress its opponents, while the U.S. has remained relatively uninvolved. But when, in August 2013, over 1,400 people were killed in a chemical weapons attack (believed to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government), President Obama declared his intention to launch a military strike against Syria once he obtained Congressional approval for it. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov then proposed that Syrian chemical weapons be placed under international control. While the Obama Administration has embraced this proposal, it is still not clear whether it can be implemented or if (even if it is) Russia and the U.S. can work together to resolve the conflict in Syria.