Victory comes at a cost.
Since entering the Syrian war last year, Russia successfully ended America’s status as the Middle East’s sole superpower, an achievement capped by the fall of Aleppo.
That rise has turned Moscow into the region’s indispensable power broker. In Europe, too, the migrant wave unleashed by the Syrian war strengthened Moscow’s sway, fueling populist parties friendly to President Vladimir Putin.
The assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey on Monday, however, highlighted the flip side of this dizzying rise. As America’s influence has shrunk, Russia has taken the place the U.S. long occupied in the minds of many people in the Middle East: an alien imperialist power seen as waging war on Muslims and Islam.
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