Russia expands its reach into the Middle East and Africa. @annaborsh

Nov 20, 2020, 05:15 AM
Image:  Engraving of Alexander II, emperor of Russia from 1855 to 1881, "Czar Liberator".
Alexander II, the oldest son of Emperor Nicholas I (1796–1855), was born in Moscow, Russia, on April 17, 1818.  Alexander's most significant reform was the emancipation of Russia's serfs in 1861, for which he is known as Alexander the Liberator He also reorganized the judicial system, set up elected local judges, abolished corporal punishment, promoted local self-government, ended number of nobility privileges and promoted universities. Alexander sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, to avoid the remote colony falls into British hands.

Anna Borshchevskaya  (@annaborsh) in re:  Russia-Sudan naval base, US troop presence in IraqRussians building a seaport on the Red Sea,, an expansion of regional authority originated by the deposed Bashir.  Hallmark of Putin’s approach: invest not in leaders but in polices and plans. Strategic point: a major crossroads. Russian state pursuing this for centuries. Check Russian PMCs (private mil contractors), another Russian foreign policy tool.
Iraq: proposed withdrawals send a completely wrong msg, and one not wanted by Iraqis. In the last few days, some of the activity was planned by Iraqi militias months ago.  For security reasons, US cannot afford to withdraw from Iraq.  Note that Saddam Hussein modelled himself on Stalin; his death dislodged Russia, which has not forgot.  Oil and gas, arms sales.  Russia’s lower House passed laws absolving Putin of  . . .  what? He’s rumored to be sick, but that’s not much credible. Another bill  under discussion to allow Putin to run for president in 2024, again.  
Peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh. Geopolitically, another story: Russian commentaries about this criticize Putin for letting Turkey become a bigger player, and for losing hearts and minds of Armenians.
Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior Fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East. In addition, she is a contributor to Oxford Analytica and a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy.