Russian strategy in the Middle East and North Africa

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Derek Averre
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The book presents a detailed analysis of Russia’s involvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the turbulent period since the Arab uprisings in 2011. It examines the key policy challenges faced by Russia in the MENA region, in the context both of its own domestic politics and of a changing international system, offering a conceptually rich study that reflects the profound complexity of the evolution of Russian foreign policy over the last decade. The book incorporates chapters on Russia’s involvement in MENA politics and its engagement with other key actors external to the region; Russia’s political and military involvement in the Syrian civil war; the domestic sources of its foreign policymaking in the MENA region; its contest with the Western powers over international norms; its response to the challenge posed by Islamist extremism in the MENA region, including the return of foreign fighters to Russia’s North Caucasus; and its political-military and economic interests in the MENA region. The concluding chapter offers some key insights into Russia’s MENA strategy and analyses the implications of its involvement there for its broader foreign policy, not least its war with Ukraine. The book responds to the surge of interest in Russia’s more assertive strategy following its military campaigns in Syria and Ukraine, challenging arguments expressed in the existing literature while offering an original and vivid account of Russian thinking and decision-making since the inception of the Arab Spring.

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