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Can Bahrain count on Moscow to fill Washington’s shoes?

As Bahrain seeks closer ties with Russia, other Arab countries have their doubts about the relationship, yet they recognize Moscow’s growing role in the region amid Washington’s receding influence.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his counterpart from Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa enter a hall during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov  - RTX1YW9C

Since 2011, much analysis on Bahrain has focused on its crackdown on Arab Spring activism, the US military presence in the kingdom and Manama's role in the geosectarian cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, there has been significantly less discussion about Bahrain's long-term foreign policy planning.

Following the lead of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which have taken stock of the relative decline of US influence in the Middle East, Bahrain has explored deeper relations with other global powers. Officials in Manama see US support for the Iranian nuclear deal as having left the GCC increasingly vulnerable to the consolidation of Iranian/Shiite influence throughout the region.

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