Putin knows that Isil will be strangled without more oil as price falls further
Regular readers of this column will know that we forget Russia on the global stage at our peril. Russia is still a major player in our part of the world.
Much of the EU lies at the end of a huge pipeline of Russian gas. Russia will heat Europe this winter. In what is now known as the 'Middle East', Russia has long been a presence. When Russia looks south it sees the Muslim world. When we look south we see the sea. Russia's entire southern border is Islamic; America's is Mexico. The Soviet Union was defeated, not by Americans, but by Muslims in Afghanistan.
As a result, Russia is always keenly aware of the region, its ethnicities, and various ancient peoples who live cheek-by-jowl whether Persians, Turks, Kurds or Arabs.