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Russia is seemingly resurgent in the Middle East, using a short-term focused, transactional approach to develop diplomatic and economic relationships across the region. Russia's Middle East strategy appears to be reaping dividends, but it is not without significant challenges and risks. It remains to be seen whether Moscow can sustain its present level of engagement and meet its geopolitical ambitions in the region. This Perspective presents the limits of Russia's strategy in the Middle East, including the challenges stemming from Russia's own political and economic system, the limitations created by regional actors in the Middle East, and those imposed by the United States. The author presents how the very elements that make Russia's strategy successful in the short term will ultimately limit the depth of Russia's regional approach in the long term.

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Funding for this analysis was provided by the generous contributions of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) Advisory Board. The research was conducted within the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.

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