Second Year MPhil in REES Student writes an article for the Moscow Times.
Second year MPhil in REES student, Sam Ramani, provides a counter-argument to Russia's current policy of conducting airstrikes to bolster Assad against ISIS in Syria, by arguing that ISIS can only be durably undermined through trilateral diplomacy involving Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Russia is in a unique position as it has developed favourable relations with both Iran and the Saudis. The strategic benefits it gains from acting as a potential mediator between both countries greatly outweigh what it loses by withdrawing its unconditional support for Assad as the legitimate leader of all of Syria.
As the ISIS threat is a concern to both, Russia might even be able to appeal to Saudi pragmatism by allowing Assad to stay on as the leader of an Alawite rump state. Unfortunately, Putin's UN speech and recent Russian military activities in Syria indicate that the Kremlin is ignoring the potential for diplomacy, in a way that is damaging for Russia's international stature and for regional security.
The article can be found here: Can Russia Unite Iran, Saudi Arabia on Syria?