Cold War II? Russia Steps Up Presence in Syria

"ZSU-23-4-Camp-Pendleton" by Sgt. Ryan Ward, U.S. Marine Corps Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Pentagon officials revealed this week that Russia is stepping up its supply of armaments to the Assad regime in Syria despite admonition from the White House.

Bulgaria closed its airspace to Russian flights last week at the request of the U.S. government, but Iraq refused to follow suit which has allowed for a route through Iran for Russian transport planes to continue delivering tanks, APCs, and personnel to an airbase near the Syrian capital.

The tense situation puts Iraq between a geopolitical rock and hard place in that the government, already under international scrutiny for its failure to quash ISIS, is attempting to balance its respective relationships with the U.S., Russia and Iran, the latter of which is also giving military aid for the fight with ISIS.

The movements by Russia presages a build-up of the nation’s influence in the Middle East ahead of what is expected to be an outline of global strategy delivered by President Vladimir Putin to the UN General Assembly later this month.