In context of ISIS, the US-Russia relations can be seen as in their random oscillation between cooperation and conflict. Initially, when Russia started airstrikes in Syria – following the U.S. entry – the cooperation was sought in fight against ISIS. Later, both the power began their separate efforts against ISIS in the Middle East thus finally parting their ways. Currently, U.S. has almost been knocked out by the Russian presence in the Middle East under the pretext of fight against ISIS.
US-Russian Presence in the Middle East
Following the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the major powers like U.S sought another pretext to mark its military presence in the Middle East. This began from Syria and ended in Iraq. Fearing the rising control of ISIS in Syria, United States led a coalition of European states to start airstrikes. But that was not only the aim behind this intervention. Another goal was to topple Syrian government led by President Assad. Seeing this scenario, Russia jumped into Syria at the request of Assad to cope the challenge to its favorite government. Russia also came under the pretext of fighting against the ISIS. This entire development made the fight against ISIS as the center point of U.S-Russia relations.
U.S-Russia Relations in Context of ISIS
The relations can be understood in three different phases:
- Cooperation: Following the entry of Russia into the Middle Eastern chaotic situation, there emerged its chances of cooperation with the United States. It happened to some extent. Both the countries shared information about ISIS hideouts and dealt them with combined airstrikes.
- Conflict: In the second phase, both U.S. and Russia began to contend over the control of the Syrian areas conquered from the ISIS. Both established their separate zones of influence thus leading the operation to their own separate interests.
- Parting of Ways: Finally, both the powers parted their ways in the fight against ISIS. This led to an apparent rise in Russian influence in Syria. It ultimately knocked out the U.S or at least marginalized it.
Impact of Relations on the Middle Eastern Security
The U.S-Russia relations adversely affected the security situation in the Middle East. The rift of interests between them did not help the Middle Eastern governments to act jointly rather it polarized their action. It further, hampered fight against ISIS except when the relations were in the first phase of cooperation.
US-Russia relations in context of the ISIS can be understood in three phases of cooperation, conflict and part of ways. This entire scheme was followed by an adverse impact on the Middle Eastern security situation.