The Syrian crisis has become the latest test of Russia’s relations with the West. Moscow’s support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its readiness to aggravate the West in pursuit of that policy has surprised Western politicians and observers, especially in light of the initial "conciliatory" position that Russia took toward foreign intervention in Libya in early 2011. Western analysts and media have attempted to find rational explanations for Russia’s position, suggesting that its main motivation is a desire to preserve its military base in the Syrian port of Tartus and its profitable weapons sales to Damascus. But these factors do not seem to play a leading role. [Link]