MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION:  Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad during their meeting in Moscow, 25 January 2005. The Syrian leader arrived in Moscow on a four-day state visit overshadowed by furious Israeli protests over reported contracts for Russian missiles that would erode the Jewish state's military superiority over its arch-foe Damascus. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI ZHUKOV  (Photo credit should read SERGEI ZHUKOV/AFP via Getty Images)