The uprising in Syria is the most serious threat the ruling Assad dynasty has faced since it first came to power more than 40 years ago. With the violence against civilians in Homs, the Syrian government is being criticized by much of the international community. The exception is Russia who has long been an ally of Syria in the Arab Middle East. Nikolas Gvosdev, a professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College, spells out the relationship between Russia and Syria and the ties that bind them. Daniel Chirot is professor of international politics at the University of Washington, and author of "Modern Tyrants."