Russia’s posturing in the Middle East has been shown to be purely political posturing from a recent WikiLeaks posting. Secure cables from the Russian foreign ministry show that while Russia promised countries in the Middle East missile systems, they had no real intention to provide those systems to the buying countries.
Syria tried to obtain missiles in 2008 by offering to host Russia’s own missile defences on its territory, matching U.S. missile defences in Europe that Russia objects to. Although Russia did sign a contract in 2010, it did not then agree; Israel’s promise not to sell arms to Georgia during the Georgia-Russia war that August may have outweighed Syria’s offer.
This also has some bearing on our prior post found here.