The military stalemate in Libya and the diplomatic hesitation over condemning Syria have created an opportunity for Russia to present itself to the Middle East as the un-NATO.
Russia, a major global arms dealer, decided Wednesday to nix a controversial arms sale that would have given Iran missiles.
Russia may back tougher, US-sponsored Iran sanctions, but it still expects to finish building the Bushehr nuclear power plant and selling Iran advanced weapons systems.
Amid a US-Israel flap, some see an opportunity for Middle East Quartet host Russia to become a bigger player in Israel peace talks. Moscow has strong ties with both Israelis and Palestinians.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Thursday saying 'don't count your chickens' about a nuclear reduction treaty with Russia.
Frustration is deep over Western support for independence that Russia sees as destabilizing and against international law.