By M K Bhadrakumar
"Russia is throwing in the towel on Syria after an almost two-year holdout
against Western intervention. The Kremlin will have to display some deft
diplomacy if it is not now to be shut out of the eastern Mediterranean. Its
cards include probable knowledge of where to find Syria's chemical weapons, and
concern shared with the US of post-Assad stability.....
All in all, therefore, it is highly probable that Washington will terminate the
Russian naval presence in Tartus in the post-Assad phase, and may think of
evicting Russia altogether from the Eastern Mediterranean. The US is already
blocking Russia's bid to join hands with Israel in developing the massive
Leviathan gas fields.
In any case, Turkey also wants Russia out of the
Eastern Mediterranean. Thus, regime change in Syria becomes a serious strategic
setback for Russia. No doubt, Moscow's ability to influence the historic
transformation of the Middle East has been seriously impaired. "