Russia takes parliamentary diplomacy to Middle East
Al-Monitor
"When Russia’s Foreign Ministry is hesitant to discuss sensitive issues with other countries, parliamentary diplomacy serves as a convenient intermediary. Parliamentary delegations convey certain positions, discuss offers and counterproposals, and in general are an effective communications tool between countries."
 
"...there’s a growing understanding that it’s impossible to settle regional issues without Moscow’s involvement. Thus, in addition to its military presence in Syria and diplomatic efforts in the region, Moscow is now testing parliamentary diplomacy as an additional tool of effective communication with its Middle Eastern counterparts."
 
Russia's Middle East Energy Diplomacy
The Foreign Affairs
"...the Kremlin has turned its foreign policy strategy back to an old Soviet source of geopolitical influence—the Middle East." 
 
"The United States’ decision to abandon its role as regional underwriter in chief over the course of Barack Obama’s second presidential term, as evidenced by a series of U-turns on Syria and the decision to indirectly support a regional rebalancing of power between Saudi Arabia and Iran following the lifting of nuclear sanctions in 2016, has allowed the Kremlin to claim a stake in the Middle East’s conflict hot spots, as well as to insert its energy sector at the heart of the region’s oil and gas markets." 
 
Q&A-Geopolitical risk key for Russia's ratings recovery - S&P
Reuters
"Any renewed deepening of geopolitical risks could diminish the chances of an upgrade. This is because the consequences of a tightening sanctions regime might choke off the recovery of the Russian economy with fiscal but also potential political risks."
 
Is Russia Overextending Itself In The Middle East?
http://oilprice.com
"Most expert analyses in Moscow have emphasized the depth of animosity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but recommendations to the Kremlin have generally suggested caution and patience (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 6). President Vladimir Putin was busy on the phone with the Qatari emir, as well as leaders of Egypt and Turkey; and Qatar’s foreign minister paid a visit to Moscow last Friday (June 9). But the space for Russian diplomatic mediation is quite limited (Politcom.ru, June 7)."
 
Escalation in Syria was almost inevitable
CNN
"These events illustrate how an uneasy battlefield coexistence in Syria has spiraled into a situation that is impossible to maintain. This is a moment that was nearly inevitable, as the US has charged the military with pursuing a series of on-the-ground tactics to defeat ISIS without an overarching US policy for Syria. As US Secretary of Defense James Mattis noted, it is currently a "strategy-free" time."
 
Democrats Say Flynn Failed to Disclose Middle East Travel on Russia Nuclear-Plant Deal
New York magazine
"On Monday Democratic lawmakers raised yet another potential problem: Flynn’s failure to disclose a 2015 trip to Saudi Arabia to pursue a U.S.-Russian business venture to develop nuclear plants in the Middle East. They note that “knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five years imprisonment.”