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NEW YORK, October 22. /TASS/. Syria’s President Bashar Assad’s visit to Moscow "reflects both a renewed confidence in his own position at home and the importance of the Russian connection," Vice-President of Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Aaron David Miller said.
After Russia had begun delivering air strikes on the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria three weeks ago, the country "has the will and the assets on the ground to exert major influence" in the Middle East, the expert said in an article posted in The Wall Street Journal online magazine on Wednesday.
"Russia has three things America lacks: allies on the ground — Iran and Hezbollah; direct influence over Mr. Assad," he said noting "consistent goals: support Mr. Assad and counter Islamic State."
Miller says that Russia "is in this for the long term and will [be] playing in this arena long after Obama leaves office."
Washington’s and Moscow’s different approaches to the Syria crisis are "testament to the marginalization of the US role and influence in the region," the expert said.