WION Edit: Changing political dynamics in West Asia

Delhi Updated: Oct 15, 2019, 08:41 PM(IST)

File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin Photograph:( AFP )

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Besides controlling oil markets, Russia wants to dominate West Asia's defence market too.

One of the major issues that define US President Donald Trump's time in the White House is - the looming shadow of Russia.

Did Russia install a yes-man at the White House? Is Trump deciding in favour of Kremlin?

This particular doubt seems more and more legitimate when one looks at US foreign policy in West Asia, especially Syria.

Because Russia has gained from strength to strength in the region since the Syrian crisis. 

on WION edit, we will explore the changing political dynamics in West Asia.

Eight years ago, the US entered Syria without an invitation.

The stated mission was to fight the ISIS. First, the US supplied arms to the rebels of free Syria army. In 2014, the Pentagon even trained the rebels to fight ISIS.

But the real motive of the US was to gain influence in oil-rich Syria. That aspect came out in the open with the covert program 'Timber Sycamore'.

So what did this covert project aim to do?

Again, this is a weapons supply and training initiative. But the motto was to fight the Russian forces that backed the Bashar-al-Assad government
After Trump became president, this project was cancelled.

Now, Trump's sudden and dangerous decision to withdraw the US troops from Syria has pushed the country to the brink of a serious crisis.

Besides, the decision makes Russia the biggest power centre in the country. As we speak - Turkey is invading Syria and US president has threatened some 'friendly' sanctions on Ankara.

Yes, we are not living in the era of the cold war. But if this battle for influence in West Asia is viewed from a historical perspective, then right now, it looks like a game set and match for Moscow.

And it's not only Syria, Russia's influence in Iraq has also risen by leaps and bounds in the last few years. 

Earlier this year, Iraq sought to improve co-operation with Moscow in 'all fields'.

Yes, the US still retains considerable hold over Iraq, but Russia is ahead in the battle for influence thanks to the backdoor entry in this power game through Iran.

And interestingly, the long arm of Russia extends to both Iran and Saudi Arabia - the arch-rivals.

The simple fact of the matter is - if there is a country that is inevitable for West Asia, that country is Russia.

And Putin uses this power in his well-crafted hegemony of the OPEC- the oil cartel.

Russia, without being a member of OPEC, controls the production levels and, as a consequence, prices. The last couple of OPEC meetings are a testimony to Russia's absolute dominance. The OPEC wasn't able to decide on production levels until Russia participated.

Besides controlling oil markets, Russia wants to dominate West Asia's defence market too.

In essence, Russia's president is the de-facto power centre in West Asia. And Vladimir Putin only has his American counterparts - Bush, Obama and now Trump to thank.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)

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