The most important international factor that influences the Syrian crisis is the politics of the United States and Russia. In the eyes of the majority of the American observers, the primary factor for the continuing bloodshed in Syria is the diplomatic and military support rendered to Assad's regime by Russia.
Let's take a closer look at the main arguments of the powerful group of observers and experts who tend to blame exclusively Moscow for the endless bloodbath in Syria. Some of those arguments are absolutely correct. It is true that one of the main reasons for the Russian attitude is the traditional close relationship between Moscow and Damascus that has lasted for decades. It is also true that the loss of this connection will deprive Russia of its only remaining ally in the area. In case of a regime change, Russia is about to lose Tartus, which is the only base of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean.
Undoubtedly, given that in the eyes of President Putin the United States is the main geopolitical enemy of his country, he is determined not to allow an American victory in the Syrian confrontation. All this is true, and it fits the "blame Russia for Syria's calamity" school of interpretation. At the same time, however, there are some additional elements of the picture that as a rule are absent from Western analyses but which happen to be absolutely correct.
The most important among them is Moscow's stake in the future of bilateral relations with Syria and the Russian interest in finding a solution to the crisis that will preserve the secular system of government. This dimension of the Russian approach to the Syrian crisis has never been properly understood by Sec. Clinton. As far as the State Department bureaucracy is concerned, they also don't understand, or rather pretend not to understand, that a victory of the opposition will be nothing short of the establishment of an Islamic dictatorship over Syria....