Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (top right) and his host, Russian President Vladimir Putin (top left), get a close-up look at a Su-57 fighter on August 27 near Moscow. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Expert: Putin Surpasses ‘Own Expectations’ in Mideast (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

ECFR Russia hand Gustav Gressel says Moscow clearly coming out ahead in region – and with some of Washington’s ostensible allies

Russia seems to be on a roll in the Middle East. With the Trump Administration’s desire to lower its regional profile not the least bit secret, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems willing, even eager, to fill the void.

Whereas until recently the only personnel he had in Syria were advisers, technicians and aircrew, Putin now has boots on the ground, patrolling in the North alongside troops loyal to the Assad regime. He has made recent visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and although not a close ally, he has the ear of the mullahs in Tehran.

Most recently, however, Turkey and Egypt – two Mideast nations viewed as allies of the United States despite ups and downs in their relations – have lately turned to Russia for arms, including advanced warplanes.

To learn more about the strategies and motives, The Media Line spoke with Dr. Gustav Gressel, an expert on Russia and head of the Wider Europe Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

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