On January 2, Iran's Fars News Agency (FNA) headlined "Foreign Military Intervention in Syria: Red Line for Russia," saying:
Mehdi Sanayee is a senior Iranian legislator. He's a National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member. He's also a Russian expert.
He told FNA:
"Causing developments through military intervention and remaining empty-handed in the developments in Syria are Moscow's red lines."- Advertisement -
Deploying Russian forces represents a "new step" in the Syrian conflict.
"Russia tries to prove on the international scene that it is committed to its strategy, which is opposition to and confrontation against foreign military intervention and unilateral moves in Syria to show that it has not surrendered on them," he said.
He referred to Vladimir Putin's earlier comments. They suggested Moscow's new position. It remains to be seen what follows.
Patrick Seale is a longtime Middle East analyst. On January 1, he offered grim new year tidings. "The coming year" won't be "happy" for "the tormented Middle East," he said.
"(T)he balance sheet of the past two years remains profoundly negative." Nowhere throughout the region have "convincing sign(s) of peace and reconciliation" emerged.