Putin’s New Order in the Middle East

December 2013 9781849042598 358pp


Vladimir Putin has almost by stealth transformed himself into an historic Russian figure. His undeniable political dominance was reflected in his return to presidential control after the March 2012 elections, having placed an obedient President Dmitry Medvedev in a stop-gap presidency. Since 1999 Putin’s growing power transposed itself in foreign affairs and nowhere did Russia’s reemergence on the world stage have more impact than in the Middle East. Russia’s new role and identity had its roots in the late Yeltsin era but Putin has subtly deflated the balloon of US power by cleverly manipulating developments in the Middle East including Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, the Syrian revolution and other regional issues. Yet twenty years earlier Russia was a very different place, and as it took its first fragile steps in a world full of dangers, the Middle East was not a top priority. This book charts the remarkable conversion in Russian Middle East policy that developed after the turning point in 2005-2006, which mirrored Putin’s turn to unbridled authoritarianism. It remains to be seen whether Putin’s increasingly pugnacious Middle East policies can be reconciled with Russia’s long term interests economically and strategically.

Table of contents

Book Summary


1. Introduction

2. The Cold War and the Demise of Middle East Nation-States

3. Yeltsin and the Decade of Transition

4. From Seeping Terrorism to Creeping Authoritarianism

5. A Cohesive Foreign Policy for a Disordered World

6. Russia and the New Realities in Iraq

7. The Syria-Lebanon Dilemma

8. The Israel Paradox and the Palestinian Proble

9. Saudi Arabia and Jordan: Royal Opportunities

10. Iran, Turkey and the Fragile South

11. Conclusion: Revolutions, Tyrants and Putin


‘It is impossible to understand the contemporary Middle East without understanding the interests and role of the Russian Federation. Nizameddin provides an innovative analysis of the foreign policies pursued under Putin’s presidencies in this explosive region. If you read just one book on Russia and the Middle East, read this one.’ — Peter J.S. Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Russian Politics and Society, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

‘Talal Nizameddin has written a fascinating book on an important topic. This is a most useful guide to anyone trying to understand Putin’s overall strategy in the Middle East as well as providing some answers to those of us wondering why Russia continues to support the Assad regime in Syria.’ — Mike Bowker, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of East Anglia, UK, and author of Russia, America and the Islamic World

‘Talal Nizameddin is a masterful guide to the complexities of Russian policy in the Middle East — a region crucial to Russia’s comeback as a powerful actor on the world stage. In this seminal work, he manages the Herculean task of explaining how Putin consolidated a pragmatic and realistic policy by balancing Russian relations with a variety of different actors.’ — Bente Scheller, Director, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, and author of The Wisdom of Syria’s Waiting Game: Foreign Policy Under the Assads 


Talal Nizameddin has been studying and researching Russia and the Middle East for twenty years. He has worked and taught in the US, Europe and the Middle East to enrich his research interests in Russian foreign policy. He was formerly Lecturer in International Relations at Haigazian University, Beirut.

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.