Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Terrorist International Takes Shape
|Boris VOLKHONSKY | 07.10.2015 | 08:00|
On October 1, Turkey and six other countries of the US-led coalition published a joint declarationexpressing concern over Russia Air Force strikes against the militants in Syria. The signatories include the United States of America (as expected), the monarchies of Persian Gulf (Saudi Arabia and Qatar that were also expected to join), as well as Great Britain, Germany and France.
The statement actually does not say anything extraordinary. Russia stole the initiative from the West. Instead of following the example of «anti-terrorist coalition» and delivering strikes against Syria’s government forces (which together with Kurds conduct combat actions against the militants of so-called Islamic State), Russia bombed the positions of the terrorists. It allowed the legitimate Syrian government to regroup forces, get a break and finally launch a ground offensive to clear the territory from the terrorist plague.
The expression of concern by the United States is logical and natural: Washington has spent great effort to train the «moderate» Syrian opposition (which mysteriously has turned into a source of weapons and manpower for «immoderate» groups). The start of the Russian operation may incur direct financial losses, let alone damage the image of the US.
There is nothing surprising in the fact that the monarchies of Persian Gulf – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – were eager to sign the statement. One may forget what country Osama bin Laden and the majority of terrorists, who seized the aircraft on September 11, 2001, came from. But it’s impossible to reject the fact that the Gulf monarchies (no matter all the real or imaginary contradictions and disagreements dividing them) are the main sponsors of major terrorist groups operating in the Greater Middle East – from Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and, especially, in Pakistan. In case of Saudi Arabia the overthrow of Bashar Assad is just the first step on the way to do away with Iran, its main opponent in the region.
It’s easy to explain why the declaration was initiated by Turkey. Ankara views the Islamic State as the only force able to nip in the bud the aspiration of Kurds, the divided people, for statehood. It makes pale such things of ‘little importance’ like cheap oil exported by militants from Iraq and Syria with Turkey being the main customer.
It’s worth to mention the position of Europe. The fact that London signed the declaration can be explained by the inability of the 51st US state to stop playing the role of American poodle on a leash. It obediently dances to the US tune. The participation of France and Germany seems to be a bit irrational.
So many things have happened in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Berlin and Paris could have realized that the events seemingly not interconnected meet the logic of US strategy aimed at creating an axis of instability. Its only goal is to preserve the unipolar world where West Europe plays the role of a passive satellite, not an independent actor.
The events in Ukraine occurred exactly when a Europe-Russia energy alliance started to loom and the US-led talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership got stalled. Just a coincidence, of course.
All these events let the United States to partially achieve the main goal – it has succeeded in driving a wedge between Europe and Russia, but the talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership did not make much progress. The United States had another ace up its sleeve. The civil war in Syria gave rise to the massive migrant flows threatening the very foundation of the European civilization and making European allies meekly ask the big brother overseas for help.
Russia’s resolute actions in Syria leave no chance for these plans. Supposedly, Europeans should breathe a sigh of relief. But it has not happened as yet.
What is the reason? Has the habit to snap to attention become so deeply enrooted? Have the Europeans left any thoughts about having a choice? Some analysts believe that the US National Security Agency has acquired serious compromising material to blackmail European leaders into agreement with Washington.
The hope is still looming that after some time Europe will realize where its real interests lie. The abovementioned declaration of the seven looks more like a creation of a new instrument of Washington. This time it has the form of an international alliance to support terrorists of the so-called Islamic State.
Boris Volkhonsky is the Deputy Head of the Asia and Middle East Center at Russian Institute for Strategic Studies
|Tags: Al Qaeda ISIS Middle East Russia Syria US|
Russia seeks broader cooperation with U.S.-led coalition in Syria
|News | 07.10.2015 | 10:58|
Xinhua - Russian military is willing to expand cooperation with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Tuesday.
"We are firmly convinced that no country is able to cope with the common threat of terrorism alone, no matter how strong the United States, Britain, Germany and NATO are. That is why we are in favor of broader international cooperation," Antonov said according to a Defense Ministry meeting transcript.
Russia is ready to share specific reconnaissance data about Islamic State (IS) positions and activities with the anti-IS coalition, he added.
According to Antonov, defense ministries of Russia and the U.S. were working on a document on cooperation in air operations against the IS terrorist group.
He said that in the next few days there would be another video conference between Russian and U.S. military, as the first was held Thursday following the start of Russian air strikes against IS facilities.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the communication channels have been restored with the United States between defense ministries and defense agencies.
Antonov said the Defense Ministry was ready to establish different types of working groups with any interested country to prevent new problems similar to the Russian aircraft's violation of Turkish airspace.
Russian ambassador to Turkey was summoned twice as Ankara claimed Turkish airspace was violated on both Saturday and Sunday.
Meanwhile, Antonov denied that Russian air force carried strikes against civilian targets as pilots in Syria were using intelligence data gained through satellites and drones, not only information provided by Syrian partners.
"We are checking intelligence more than once. Decisions, which are then taken, are carefully balanced and meticulously calculated. And we deal a blow only when we are 100 percent sure that we do not miss the target," he said.
He noted that evidence showed terrorists in Syria were hiding in mosques because "they are well aware that we will under no circumstances strike non-military targets."
Zakharova said it is "pure propaganda" that Russia was blamed for the death of Syrian civilians, while calling on Western countries to be responsible for their words and to "solidify their words with concrete material."
The spokeswoman reiterated that Russia chose not to join the U.S.-led coalition because it is "inconsistent with international law."
|Tags: ISIS Russia Syria US|