Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.
Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.
Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.
Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has put it at odds with other countries in the Arab world.
Russia drew a lot of flack from Arab countries and the West when it vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at pressuring Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters. That has some analysts in Russia doubting whether the Kremlin really has a cogent strategy for the Middle East.
The dilemma for Russia policy in the Arab world can be illustrated by two very different events that took place this week.
As the U.S. continues to search for diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, "the Pentagon and the U.S. Central Command have begun a preliminary internal review of U.S. military capabilities," CNN is reporting.