Russia’s Trap: Luring Sunnis into War

Will direct military involvement in Syria by Turkey and Saudi Arabia spark a NATO-Russia confrontation? Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then prime minister), meeting in Istanbul on December 3, 2012. (Image


  • Washington should think more than twice about allowing Turkey and Saudi Arabia, its Sunni allies, militarily to engage their Shiite enemies in Syria. Allowing Sunni supremacists into a deeper sectarian war is not a rational way to block Russian expansion in the eastern Mediterranean. And it certainly will not serve America’s interests.
  • Turkey and Saudi Arabia are too weak militarily to damage Russia’s interests. It is a Russian trap — and precisely what the Russians are hoping their enemies will fall into.

After Russia’s increasingly bold military engagement in war-torn Syria in favor of President Bashar al-Assad and the Shiite bloc, the regional Sunni powers — Turkey and its ally, Saudi Arabia — have felt nervous and incapable of influencing the civil war in favor of the many Islamist groups fighting Assad’s forces.

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