Russian Realism in the Middle Eastby Paul R. Pillar
We should reflect on the meaning of Russia’s use of a base in Iran for staging airstrikes in Syria, and about what lessons we could learn from the Russians. The significance does not have to do with any grand realignment in the Middle East or the emergence of a military alliance between Russia and Iran. Russians and Iranians are not buddies. The development has to do more specifically with the conflict in Syria, and the main advantage for Russia concerns tactical operational considerations involving distances to the battlefield and how much of a bomb load certain types of Russian aircraft can carry.
Nor does the lesson for us involve using more rather than less military force in the region. The United States is conducting airstrikes in Syria, too, and, although it seems to escape our notice sometimes, a limited ground war against ISIS as well. The United States has more of a military presence in the Middle East, and is doing more with that presence, than anything Russia is doing there. If we are worrying about Russia one-upping us in the Middle East, it is not because the Russians are doing more militarily in the region than we are.https://lobelog.com/russian-realism-in-the-middle-east/