Russia in the Fight Against Islamist Groups

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by Stanislav Ivanov, via NEO.org

Revitalization of radical Islamist groups across the world forces Russian leadership to take appropriate measures to counter this threat to both national and international security.

Today, the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS, claims the role of the vanguard of the international terrorism. This group, which initially was a cell of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a relatively short time managed to unite dozens of gangs fighting against central governments in Iraq and Syria. For a long time, the United States and its allies tried not to notice the growth of this new terrorist monster, hoping that it would help them to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

As a result, today IS controls large territories and population (up to 10-12 million) of Syria and Iraq, where it creates its own state structures, calling them Islamic Caliphate. For the first time in modern history, the radical Islamists have got the opportunity to control vast territories, large cities (Mosul, Tikrit), natural resources (oil, gas, water), to have a hundred thousand army, heavy weapons and military equipment, including ballistic missiles and warplanes. IS receives financial, material and military support through Salafi/Wahhabi funds and non-governmental organizations of the Gulf. Taxation of the controlled territories, robberies of banks, museums and individuals, drug and human trafficking, oil and arms smuggling, racketeering on borders, etc. provide IS with additional income. IS annual income has already exceeded $ 10 billion.

IS leaders do not conceal their aggressive views and aspirations, they threaten to further expand the boundaries of the Caliphate to Arab and other countries, including Central Asia and the Caucasus. They have already managed to establish communication with the Islamists in Libya, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and other countries. All over the world IS emissaries recruit volunteers and mercenaries for jihad. The Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia recently stated that up to 1700 Russian citizens fight on the side of IS. An even greater number (more than ten thousand people, according to estimates) of jihadists flooded the region from Europe, the United States, Asian countries. These militants and their families pose a potential threat not only to Syria and Iraq, but, above all, to the countries from which they arrived. Jihadists, who survived in battles, can return to their countries with developed radical views and combat experience, to carry out attacks and recruit into their ranks more and more partisans. Based on the above-mentioned, Russian leadership is carrying out a series of active and preventive measures to combat this “plague of the 21st century”.

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