Non-Soviet Russia’s internal problems stop it from playing a more effective role in the international arena. This in turn has enabled the U.S. to come off with its unipolar dominance. Syrian President Bachar El Assad was right when he urged Vladimir Putin to pay more attention to the Middle East, mainly because Arab-Soviet relations were at their best in the past. On the other hand, the strategic equation used to be just another one: The Arab World and the Soviet Union vs. Israel and the U.S.
The weakness of the Arab-Soviet “pole” is not due to Israel’s strength but to the lack of balance that features the roles played by each opponent, Soviets and Americans, in that strategic equation, the U.S. factor prevailing over the soviet one. That way and throughout history, the U.S. has equipped Israel with every needed element in its conflict with the Arab world.
It is evident that this disparity in the Arab-Israeli confrontation, which began in the 1960’s till the collapse of the Soviet Union, is the result of various circumstances. First of all, and most probably that of Israel’s ability to influence U.S. political decisions through an effective and well organized lobby, while the Arabs had to cope with Moscow’s hermetic regime. Likewise, Washington’s and Moscow’s strategic calculations could have well established the difference.
But, what’s the change that took place in Russia and encouraged Syria, for example, to ask for the most sophisticated Russian rockets? The fact is, given the situation in both Chechnya and the international arena, that the establishment of Arab-Soviet relations is no longer a choice but a must.

Source
Asharqalawsat

روسيا والعرب...والأمل المفقود”, by Walid Abou Morshed, Asharqalawsat, January 27, 2005.