Many Western reports are talking about Russian President Vladimir Putin's quest to weaken the US global leadership. For Some American analysts, Putin's efforts received unprecedented and unintended support from US policies. The withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change gave China, despite international criticism, a historic opportunity to lead the world in the environment sector, others argue. Others see determining the fate of Syria in Sochi as isolating the United States.

In recent years, President Putin has led intensive international moves in search of a political settlement to the Syrian crisis after announcing the defeat of terrorism in this country militarily and the cleansing of about 98% of the Syrian territory from Daesh. Putin contacted many leaders, including US President Donald Trump, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, regarding the Syrian issue. Then he received President Assad and celebrated the victory of their alliance against Daesh and terrorist organizations. The two sides agreed on basic principles for organizing the political process to settle the crisis.

During the meeting, Assad said Syria is ready for dialogue with all parties interested in a political solution in the country, which is a remarkable development, given his previous positions towards the opposition. The Russians pushed for the search for compromise solutions to the crisis. A Russian official statement reported that Putin told Assad that it is now necessary to reach a political settlement in Syria, noting that Assad was ready to work with everyone who wants peace and stability in Syria. President Putin cared to arrange a meeting in Sochi with Syrian President, the Ministry of defense and the General staff of the Russian armed forces, to introduce him to senior generals and officers who helped "save" Syria from the clutches of terrorism. The US President spoke about a "great" call with his Russian counterpart. The US President said that it almost lasted an hour and a half, stating that they were looking very seriously for peace in Syria. But the most important meeting sponsored by Russia was a summit between the Presidents of Russia and Turkey and Iran, one that Erdogan qualified as "crucial for the future of the country (Syria)". Some even compared it to the Yalta Conference.

Another sign of expanding Russian influence in the Middle East was receiving Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on his first visit to Russia. The discussion focused on many areas, including the signing of contracts with Russian companies to explore gold and oil in new fields in Sudan. Russian foreign policy is gaining more influence, taking advantage of the declining power of US foreign policy. The shrewd Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov keeps sending signals on the vision of his country in international relations, always confirming that Russia respects its international obligations, the freedom of peoples and does not interfere in internal affairs of States.

Russia's successes in Syria have been recognized by the international envoy. "Moscow has been instrumental to what can be seen as the real momentum in the political solution," said De Mistura after a meeting with the Russian defense minister.

Russia is racing against time and is talking in a way that reflects a Russian-Iranian domination in post-war Syria. Russia is now determining the eligibility of countries to participate in the coming phase, excluding European countries from it, although it was said at the United Nations General Assembly last September that some 14 countries, mostly Western countries opposed to Assad, would not participate in the reconstruction of Syria until a "political process" not involving Assad happens. The same position was adopted by the US whose National Security Adviser McMaster said in October that "we should ensure that not a dollar, not a dollar goes to reconstruct anything that is under the control of this brutal regime."

It looks like reconstruction contracts would go largely to companies associated with Russia and Iran, which support Assad. The president promised in November 2016 to prioritize the Russians in giving the contracts. Iranian companies linked to the Revolutionary Guard have already signed contracts to build telephone networks and mining facilities. Officials have said that Iran will build an oil refinery in Syria. Potential military bases are also on the table.

 Experts believe that Russia and Iran cannot afford financing the reconstruction of Syria by themselves, a process requiring nearly $200 billion. Russia is likely to play the role of the gatekeeper to new Syria, but what impact Syria will have on the Russian political and military presence in the Middle East and the modern Great Game with the United States? What is the future of its relations with Iran and Turkey and a said "pact" that would involve Iraq and other regional countries? What is the position of the United States and its regional allies on that? Has Russia abandoned its Gulf partners for strategic relations maintained with Iran or can it strike a balance?