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WASHINGTON – The recent veto by Russia and China of U.S. efforts in the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad for its violent treatment of protesters has escalated tensions between the United States and Russia, which seeks to maintain its influence in the Middle East by protecting al-Assad, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

It is apparent now that the United States wants al-Assad ousted as a way to diminish the influence of Syrian ally Iran in the Middle East.

Russia, on the other hand, has serious equities in protecting the al-Assad regime through its two major naval bases in Syria. In addition, Moscow has sold considerable arms to the Syrian regime.

For these reasons, the Russians saw their investments threatened and vetoed the UNSC resolution, saying that it didn’t call for the disarming of the opposition, which analysts believe has been taken over by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

The concern is that it raises the potential for a civil war in Syria. All of this boils down to the Russian challenge of U.S. supremacy in the Middle East, say regional analysts.

Now, the U.S. has called for an international coalition to support the opposition by sending arms and money to back its efforts against the al-Assad regime. Not only does this prospect team up the U.S. with the Muslim Brotherhood but also with al-Qaida whose chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has expressed the terrorist group’s support for the popular unrest in Syria.

Al-Zawahiri also called on Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to back the Syrian rebels against the al-Assad regime. Not only does this place the U.S. in bad company, but it reflects the beginning of a new Cold War between Moscow and Washington for dominance in the Middle East being fought through proxies such as Syria.

As a sign of the renewal of the Cold War between Moscow and Washington, the Kremlin has decided to resume worldwide nuclear submarine patrols.

“On June 1 or a bit later, we will resume constant patrolling of the world’s oceans by strategic nuclear submarines,” according to Russian Navy Cmdr. Admiral Vladimir Vysofsky.

Such patrols of missile-carrying nuclear submarines were standard operating procedure by the then-Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War as a sign of nuclear deterrence.

The patrols were designed to offer a second strike capability or to put other nuclear powers on edge. At their height, reports say that the Soviets conducted some 230 such patrols a year. Now, there are fewer than 10 a year, but they are expected to increase dramatically as the Russian economy improves, thanks in part to the escalating oil prices.

According to Russian experts, the Russian navy possesses some 12 ballistic missile nuclear submarines of the Delta III and Delta IV classes. By 2020, the Russians will have another eight new submarines of the Borey class.

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