There has been speculation lately as to whether Russian president Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea were improvised, or whether they were the result of a longer-term strategic plan. A similar question can be asked of Russian behaviour in Syria. When Mr Putin decided to bolster the regime of President Bashar Al Assad in 2011, did he have an endgame in mind?
Egypt’s foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, apparently feels that the answer is no. A Lebanese politician who recently spoke to him says that Mr Fahmy’s impression from speaking to Russian officials was that Moscow is at an impasse in Syria. Mr Putin has blocked all efforts to undermine Mr Al Assad, but that does not mean he has been able to impose a solution of his own.