Thursday 8 December 2016

If this is a game of chess, then Russia just check-mated the US

Con Coughlin

Published 01/10/2015 | 02:30

'[Vladimir] Putin has long harboured ambitions of strengthening Russia's position in the Arab world'
'[Vladimir] Putin has long harboured ambitions of strengthening Russia's position in the Arab world'

When the history of the decline of American influence in the Middle East comes to be written, US President Barack Obama's testy exchange with Vladimir Putin, his Russian opposite number, at this week's UN General Assembly in New York may turn out to be the key turning point.

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Ever since his election as president in 2009, Mr Obama has sought to redefine Washington's relationship with the Arab world, starting with his keynote speech in Cairo in June 2009, when he called for "a new beginning" in relations between the West and Muslim governments.

And in many respects Mr Obama has achieved his goal, with the ground-breaking deal he signed with Iran in the summer over its nuclear programme transforming Washington's relations with the region.

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