How has Russia helped regain momentum to counter terrorism through its diplomacy and military intervention?


    By Shehab Al Makahleh

    Since terrorism nature in the world has been chancing for the past 40 years, Russia has managed to develop its own strategy to counter terrorism through preventive measures and early response to the threats of extremists. Despite the importance of the issue for Russia and the world, the West has little understanding about the facts concerning terrorism which has started to cross borders and act on every inch in the world, endangering human civilization and development.
    In what CNN labeled the “worst terror attack in the United States since 9/11 and the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States”, 49 people were shot dead and 53 wounded by a sole gunman, armed with military grade assault weapon and a handgun, in its commentary on June 13, 2016. It has become clear that the Russian hunch about the risk of those terrorists will reach all parts of the world was true and cannot be argued as the incidents in Europe: Germany, France, Belgium, the UK and elsewhere are crystal clear examples of the capabilities of terrorists to strike anywhere anytime.

    We all recall Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vow that the Russian Federation will be a “trustworthy partner” to the “Islamic world” during a conference in Moscow about Islam and Russia in May 2016. The president said that Russia is a partner to the Muslim and Arab nations as Russia has its flavor among the people of the region who have long history with the former Russian Empire and very long relations based on mutual respect and cooperation. This justifies the assistance Russia is giving to the Arab and Muslim states nowadays in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan amidst other states. It is a deep-rooted history between the both nations which is based on coexistence and peace.

    In 2015, the Russian Federation set a key precedent for its foreign policy when it made a decision to launch an across-the-board operation of what it has usually mulled its “backyard”. Russian commotion in the Middle East has mounted and escalated recently; however, its decision in September 2015 to launch airstrikes and Missile against terrorists in Syria had been considered as a surprise to many politicians in the world even those who were conservative that Moscow would not send its jets to take part in such a war. However, the Kremlin, through the participation on its air-forces, uncovered that the Russian Federation has a modern army and strong military and its weaponry are unparalleled.

    Russian-Muslim Diplomatic relations

    Diplomatic relations between Russia and Muslim nations dramatically improved after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the established of the Russian Federation in 1991. Both nations started the process of rapprochement in early 1992, building constructive partnerships, leading to strategic partnerships and later friendship and cooperation to rebuild on what has been set up in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It should be noted that Russia shares borders with some Muslim nations and there are about 16 million Muslims living in Russia,

    The Muslim world is under the magnitude of both super powers: Russia and the USA. Since Muslims and Arabs are very close to the Russian Federation, they are entirely close in cultural, political, architectural and economic structure. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West, led by the USA, tried to attract the Muslims and Arabs to affect the two major super powers countering the West: Russia and China. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, a new world map was formed based on influence, where many world states felt forced to orbit around the American sphere. After President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, this world map started to change and this has witnessed an era of alliances and coalitions led by Russia which signed various agreements with China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba and strategic Middle Eastern states such as Syria, Iraq, Algeria. This has ended the era of uni-polarity.

    Under the rule of President Putin, Russia has become a key player at the international arena after long absence, burning all cards the West has at the world map. Russians, who stood behind and by their leadership and suffered for years from economic hardships, survived this turmoil successfully by turning their pain into gain. They have put all their weight behind their leadership and have worked strenuously to regain the glory of their ancestors. Arabs and Muslim have not witnessed any rift throughout their lives with the Russians; they coexisted for many years and they cooperated with each other. In the recent, history, one would recall the existence of Russian presence in the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s when Russia has contributed to the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt to produce electricity for the whole country. The dam was built with a grant from the Soviet Union with US$1 billion. The dam has been a mega project built to benefit the Egyptians.

    This dam is still producing the necessary water for irrigation and for generating power until now. The new Russian strategy in the Middle East and North Africa region as well as in the Muslim world is not only restricted to economic ties; there are arm deals and security cooperation to counter terrorism. Another country which is important to Russia is Morocco due to its strategic location on the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean which makes it close to Europe, America and Central Africa. It is remarkable that Russia has not dictated on these countries any ideologies or programs of cooperation which makes them free to pick: Russia or the US.

    Since President Vladimir Putin has come to power, Russia has changed beyond all recognition. In spite of international pressures on Russia, President Putin has the highest ever popularity among the Russians and even among the republics which have become independent after the demise of the Soviet Union. It is not a matter to love him or to dislike him, it is a matter of the great influence he has on the community, on the country, and the world.

    In his speech at the Duma June 22, 2016 the Russian president made it clear for the world that Russia’s security is a priority and that the stronger Russia is, the better the international arena would be. He told the world especially the West that in spite of all plots against his country, Russia has managed to be back stronger than expected. Whether the other countries like it or not, Russia cares about its borders and will not allow any to encroach on its rights and privileges.

    He said it loudly that Russia stands up to its rights and pledged support for Russian causes. His 50 minute speech focused on the Rodina concept and that Russians will not relinquish their privileges and will defend their country in spite of all challenges, rising up to the level of plots near their borders.
    President Putin has made it clear that the uni-polar world is over and that time will not get back to 1991. He knows that Russia was a victim in 1991 and was penetrated from within by the NATO who had a dream to expand eastward. This justifies the recent NATO military exercise in Poland near the Russian borders and the Russian reaction by holding a major military exercise.

    Back to Putin’s succession to power in 1990s, it was a very hard decade for him to stabilize his country and transform it from a torn-apart into a unified state. I heard from Russians that they were working for more than a year without salaries just because they believed that this president would bail their country out and would turn it into a developed one. He succeeded and he managed to attract many western companies to come and invest in his country due to the promising economy and future prospects.
    To balance out his policies, he viewed the western hegemony as a hindrance to his plans to spread the concept of multi-polarity. He approached China and other countries such as Brazil and India as major world economies. This explains why the Western Bloc is trying to dismember this coalition by incurring chaos in places like Brazil, Latin America, Asia and Africa in order to keep Russia isolated.

    In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has emerged stronger since then though the first three years were quite decisive in the history of the Russia people due to the many challenges facing the community and the country. However, the patriotic feelings towards their country helped the Russians to move ahead and reach their goals in spite of all economic, security and political hardships.

    Since President Putin came to power, he started looking out of the box and incepted to talk to his two most influential Muslim neighbors: Iran and Turkey. He built up a tactical alliance with them until November 2015 when the Turkish downed the Su-24 over Syria. With other Middle Eastern countries and Muslim states, Russia has developed very close cultural, economic, and military relations in spite of all ups and downs.
    President Putin sought from the very beginning to start a new era of relations with other countries and to expand economic and political cooperation with them. He has expressed in more than one occasion that the interests of both Russia and the Muslims are the same. In his speech to Arab Leaders who took part in the Arab League Summit June 25, 2016, President Putin said that Russia considers the status quo in the Middle East as aggravating due to terrorism and wars.

    The Russian President also urged the Arab League to fight terrorism in line with the efforts towards a settlement in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and other hot spots.
    “Russia is ready to strengthen cooperation with the Arab League in regional security, particularly in combating the threat of international terrorism. Fighting this evil must be combined with joint efforts aimed at political settlement of crisis situations in the Middle East,” said President Putin.
    He voiced his hope to boost Arab-Russian partnership and to enhance bilateral relations based on the decisions taken at the February session of the Russian-Arab cooperation Forum in Moscow. For the Russian president, the Middle East and the Muslim world, it is important to have a very good relationship with all its governments as the trip from the any place in the Middle East is no more than 5 -6 hours by plane to Moscow. Whatever happens in these states would be affecting Russia as well.

    Moscow, a new pilgrimage destination to Arab and Muslim leaders

    Russia has stepped up its policy in the Middle East due to the many visits of some Arab monarchs and heads of states visiting Moscow as well as officials from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Both parties seek to develop Arab-Russian relations to overcome all obstacles hindering improving the existing ties. The ballet dance between Arabs and Russians stands for the harmony and synchronization between both nations which has reached a level that helps solve most of the stalemating issues in the Middle East including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Both Arabs and Russians resort to pragmatism in their policies to bring them closer to counter any mutual threats. The visits of Arab officials to Moscow since the beginning of 2015 have been a sign of an approach to fill the gap and bridge differences in viewpoints about some issues.
    For their part, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had striven to re-establish Russia’s stature in the Arab world. The Arab officials understand that the key to solve many critical issues hinge on stronger ties with Russia which is very close to the Arab world: it has same concerns, interests and perspectives. To many analysts, Arab-Russian relations are stronger than expected in spite of the many differences on some issues. The issue of defeating Daesh has become the main common denominator between Russia and the Arab world.
    The visits of Russian officials to key Arab states and the visits of Arab officials to Moscow are very prominent and distinctive. Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan have visited Moscow many times during the past 2 years.

    The visit of King Abdullah II to Sochi on November 24, 2015, the day the Turkish jet-fighters downed the Russian aircraft on its way back from a military mission over Syria was a U-turn in Arab perspectives towards terrorism and the role of Russia.

    Putin said on that occasion: “We maintain constant contacts with you today, when there is such a serious struggle against international terrorism; it is obvious that we must join our efforts. I am happy to state that our military and official services are working in this direction.”
    President Putin added: “Apart from that, we have other matters to discuss – I am referring to our bilateral relations.”

    For his part, King Abdullah II of Jordan said: “My dear brother, I thank you very much for seeing me today, on a day when you have many weighty issues on your shoulders. I would like to offer my condolences and those of the Jordanian people for that tragic terrorist heinous attack on the innocent Russians that lost their lives through the Metrojet terrorist attack, as well as the loss of your pilot today. I believe that this compels the international community to work stronger together both militarily and diplomatically in the context of Vienna, which is something that you have been a strong sponsor of.”

    The king added: “You know, Mr President, I have said for many years that the only way of finding a political solution in Syria is with the strong role that both you and Russia play for a political solution for the Syrian people. Your fight against Daesh is a fight that all of us have to do together not only in Syria and Iraq but also both you and I have said that this a global war, a war that binds all of us together. Daesh, Al Qaeda and their offshoots want this to be a fight against humanity. And you and I have both hoped for many years about the holistic nature of this challenge — how we have to combine international efforts not only in our region but to fight this in Africa, in Asia, in Europe as well as our region.”

    The King stressed: “So these are not only the challenges we face in Syria and Iraq, but also we have seen terrorism in Saudi Arabia, in Beirut, and unfortunately recently in Paris as well as Mali. I know that this is a fight that both you and I, our countries and many others in the world are determined to win. Again, this is an opportunity for all of us in the international community to come together and fight this fight as part of a coordinated international body. I again commend the very strong relationship between our two countries and between you and myself.”

    King Abdullah II reiterated: “I have known you for many years and our relationship has always been a strong one, and I know that it will continue to move from strength to strength. I thank you for the valuable time that you have given me today on a very difficult day for you and for your people.”
    King Abdullah who paid many visits to Russia said on August 25, 2015 while attending MAKS-2015.

    “I am looking forward to being able to discuss many of the major challenges in our region that have been plaguing us for several years, and the vital role that you and Russia have been playing for such a long time and continue to play to bring stability to our region. Not only trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer together to find a peaceful solution to that long and difficult conflict, but also, as you know, I have said for many years, as we try to find a solution for Syria, I have believed that the only way we can find a solution for Syria is the vital role that you and your country play to find a political solution for all parties to bring stability to that country that has endured so much.”

    The king referred to the role Russia plays regionally and globally saying: “So, your role and the role of your nation is vital for our area, and I am delighted to be back here in Moscow to listen to you and to be able to exchange with you and my colleagues here in Moscow, so, thank you for having us back here.”
    In the same context, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates’ made many visits to Russia, the last of which was on March 24, 2016.

    Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Al Nahyan said: “Mr President, I am very happy to be in Moscow today. Indeed, as you said, trade has fallen, but that is why we came to Moscow. We are in Moscow because Moscow plays a serious role in the Middle East. We attach great importance to continuous dialogue both on the further development of our bilateral relations and on the ways of enhancing stability in the Middle East. We strongly believe in the development of our relations and are striving to make them a firm foundation for our future cooperation. Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet today”.
    On His visit to Moscow on October 23, 2014, Sheikh Mohammad said: “Thank you very much, Mr President. I am happy to meet with you here in this wonderful city. Thank you for finding the time for me in your very busy schedule. I can say that Russia plays a very serious role in Middle Eastern affairs. However, there is no doubt that we have a privileged relationship. We have great goals to achieve in our cooperation, and if we succeed, it will develop even more actively.”

    On the sidelines of the G20 summit, President Vladimir Putin met with King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on November 16, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey.

    On June 17, 2015 Saudi deputy crown prince and defense minister Mohammad bin Salman arrived to Russia and held meetings with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials on various issues of concern to both countries. Prince Salman’s visit came on on the sidelines of the 19th St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The Deputy Crown Prince, Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud said: “I am very happy to have this opportunity to meet with you for the second time. I have the honor of conveying to you the greetings and best wishes from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and expressing his great respect for your Excellency.”

    Prince Salman added: “I would like to say that the Custodian of the Two Mosques confirms his acceptance of your invitation. I also have the honour of inviting you to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We view Russia as an important state in the modern world. Our relations have a long history. Russia was the first foreign state to recognize Saudi Arabia in 1926. Therefore, we will work to develop bilateral relations in all areas.”

    King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s in February 2016 and his meeting with President Putin in Sochi was very representative and paved the way for rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Moscow. The gifts exchanged on that occasion were highly symbolic: King Hamad presented President Putin with a sword made of Damascus steel knows as “sword of victory”, as a key word to Russian influence in the Middle East through Damascus gate against terrorism. The saber is also made of other precious metals. King Hamad himself even took part in designing the weapon The stallion presented by President Putin to King Hamad, which is one of the best horses, has been a sign that what unifies Arabs and Russians is more than that keeps them apart.

    In other words, Moscow has become a “political Mecca” to many Arab and Muslim leaders seeking advice and cooperation with its leadership on various issues of mutual concern.
    The visit of Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Moscow January 2016 and the visit of the Russian diplomats to Doha in August 2016 for talks about the regional issues reflect that Moscow has started to play the role of a neutral mediator in the Middle East.

    The talks have focused primarily on comprehensive development of trade and economic, investment, energy sector, and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Qatar. The two leaders have a detailed exchange of views on current international affairs, particularly the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.
    Sheikh Tamim said: “Mr President, let me start by thanking you, the Russian Government and the Russian people for your hospitality. I am happy to be here in Moscow today”.
    He added: “As you noted, Mr President, our two countries have pursued high-level coordination over recent years. We also hope that this will serve as a solid foundation for taking our relations to an even higher level.”As you said, we have plenty to discuss. We have common interests in the energy sector, in the gas sector, and Russia and Qatar are both members of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF)”.

    Sheikh Tamim stressed: “We see our investment cooperation as very important. Many positive results have been achieved of late. I am thinking here above all of the cooperation with the RDIF [Russian Direct Investment Fund] in different investment areas. Naturally, we will discuss the situation in the Middle East: the latest developments and the problems the region faces. Russia plays a fundamental role in global stability today and we hope to develop our relations with Russia and find solutions to a number of problems concerning stability in some of our region’s countries. Once more, thank you very much for this cooperation.”
    Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait paid a visit to Moscow on November 10, 2015, which was a turning point in relations between the Gulf States and Moscow.

    The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah reinstated: “Mr President, thank you very much for your hospitality and for your warm welcome. We are also very happy to be in this beautiful city. We hope it will continue to develop and will remain just as beautiful. Allow me to personally express condolences on my own behalf and on behalf of the Government and the people of Kuwait in connection with the crash of the Russian plane in Egypt. We share your sorrow.”

    On March 15, 2016 President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

    The discussion focused on pressing issues of bilateral cooperation and international affairs. In the course of the visit to Russia by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the parties adopted a Statement on the extended strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of Morocco. Intergovernmental agreements were signed on air traffic, on cooperation in environmental protection and the rational use of natural resources, on cooperation in marine fishery, on support and mutual protection of capital investment and on mutual protection of classified information in the military and military technology areas. Also signed was a Russian-Moroccan statement on combating international terrorism.

    Other joint documents deal with cooperation in energy, geological prospecting and development of mineral resources, in tourism, cooperation between Museums of the Moscow Kremlin and the State Hermitage Museum with the National Museum Foundation of Morocco, as well as cooperation in Islam.
    King Mohammed VI of Morocco said: “Mr President, I hope we will be able to discuss these and other important issues. Thank you very much for your warm welcome. This is my second visit to Moscow, and I recall our meeting with you here in this very same room. It is always with great joy that I come to your country. I have brought with me a representative delegation and I hope the Government ministers on it would be able to consider the matters that interest you in the course of our meeting and afterwards”.

    The meeting between President Putin and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on August 26, 2015 shows the great momentum Egypt pins on improving and developing its ties with the Russian Federation. Both leaders exchanged views on international matters, in particular, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, prospects for a settlement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and fighting international terrorism.

    Following the meeting, El-Sisi said: “Mr Putin, President of the friendly Russian Federation, First of all, I want to thank you, Mr President, for the invitation to come to Moscow again and meet with you. This is our fourth meeting, and this underscores the special nature of the relations between our peoples and is evidence of the progress in the traditional and strategic relations between our countries”.

    The Egyptian president voiced his hope that the meeting will lead to fruitful outcome. “Mr President, I am absolutely certain that our meeting today will give a new boost to our bilateral relations, which have developed rapidly over the last two years and reached a new level. We now want to take this new level, strengthen it further and expand our partnership in the future, all the more so when we see the bold position that Russia under your leadership took to support the Egyptian people’s will and choice at a time when our country faced big challenges unprecedented in its history.”
    El-Sisi added: “At the talks with Mr President today, we discussed various aspects of our bilateral relations and confirmed the strong political ties between our countries. We also discussed practical and effective steps we need to take to strengthen our cooperation. During these talks, we agreed on the need to develop our trade and economic relations and our investment ties as a solid base for developing and strengthening long-term strategic relations between Egypt and Russia.”

    He elucidated: “I said to Mr President that I am happy with the results achieved and with the progress made thanks to efforts in both countries to carry out obligations regarding joint projects and activate cooperation mechanisms. I think that we have big and promising opportunities ahead. We hope to begin practical steps to establish a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal region, given the clear ideas we have about carrying out ambitious investment projects and increasing our bilateral trade”.

    The Egyptian president reiterated: “In this same context, we have made good progress of late in our work together in the nuclear energy sector, and we hope very much to make use of Russia’s considerable experience in this vital area. Our talks also covered a number of important areas in which we hope to see a considerable increase in our cooperation in the near future. These matters will be the subject of a detailed examination and discussion at the tenth session of our Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation, which will take place in Egypt at the end of the year.”
    He said: “We discussed international and regional issues of mutual interest. I was very pleased to see that we coincide in our views of how to settle these issues. In particular, we reaffirmed the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, in accordance with the provisions set out in the Geneva communique. We also reaffirmed the need to settle the Palestinian issue, including giving the Palestinian people their lawful rights and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We discussed the situation in Yemen, Iraq and the latest events in Libya, including ways of preventing terrorism, which threatens us all. We share a common understanding of the fact that the existence of terrorism is linked to hotbeds of tension in the Middle East. This makes it essential that we develop and activate our cooperation and consultations to find concrete solutions to these problems and guarantee the unity, territorial integrity and security of the region’s countries.

    El-Sisi expressed his gratitude to President Putin saying: “President Putin, I want to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for having Russia represented at such a high level by the Prime Minister at the opening of the new Suez Canal. This was very much appreciated in Egypt at official level and by the general public. Mr President, I want to express our gratitude for the gift of the Russian naval hardware that took part in the Suez Canal’s opening ceremony. This was a very generous gesture that Egyptians saw as proof of the strong and friendly relations between our countries and peoples. I am happy with the progress made and the success in developing our relations in the military cooperation, arms, training for personnel, exchange of experience and help in the fight against terrorism. I hope such intensive work in this area will continue and we will activate our cooperation mechanisms in our common interest of achieving stability in the Middle East and guaranteeing international security.

    He concluded: “I want to thank you once again, Mr President, and thank the friendly Russian people for this hospitality and warm reception. Egypt and Russia have reaffirmed of late their desire to strengthen the strategic relations between our countries, which are based on political and intellectual rapprochement, our historical heritage, and the friendship and mutual respect between our countries and peoples. Egypt values this greatly. Mr President, I hope personally for close cooperation with you to strengthen and develop our strategic partnership and relations in the future.”

    President of the Society of friendship and business cooperation with the Arab countries Vyacheslav Matuzov told “Russian planet” in the aftermath of Sheikh Sabah’s visit:

    “A certain political climate is being created nowadays, the climate that affects Russia’s positions in international arena. It shows that Russia is not isolated, nor there is an economic embargo; because when Saudi Arabia or the Emirates leaders are paying visit to Moscow, this indicates that Moscow is all right. The Arabs have always treated us positively and they are prepared to do everything necessary to strengthen the Russia’s position in the world – because they are interested in strengthening their positions, even for purely personal, selfish interests. Now they need an ally to counterbalance the pressure of the Americans.”

    It should be pointed out that the main challenges in Russian-Arab cooperation lie in diplomatic field. Thanks to the many meetings between officials from both sides which helped bridge the differences.

    Muslims under the Russian Federation

    In September 2015, a convoluted ceremony marked the opening of the biggest mosque in Europe. The mosque is located in the center of Moscow, a walking distance from the Russian Orthodox Church and the bell towers of the Kremlin. After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been surrounded by 14 new states, some of which have a majority of Muslim population. This new situation has prompted the Russian government to look at means of dealing with all of its neighbors and even beyond as some of these neighbors have strong relations with some Middle Eastern and Muslim nations. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the priorities of the Russians have changed accordingly. They have focused on their instant neighbors before embarking on any international relationship with other Muslim or Middle Eastern nation except those states which are deemed strategic partners to Russia such as Algeria, Syria and Iraq.

    Source: Shehab Makahleh

    How Russians have contributed to defeating terrorism and curbing its expansion?

    The Russians functioned today as the old Greek Cassandra who according to mythology had the power of prophecy but no one was heeding her warnings. Thus, Russia had to act separately to save humanity from this bogeyman which the West has created. They have prepared the Jinni and then they could not control it as the Jinni started controlling its masters.

    In the history of Islam, the word Jihad means something noble which is to strive to get what you want by hardworking; it was misinterpreted and abused by some scholars and some politicians for some purposes to distort the image of Islam, and to spread the idea that Islam is a violent religion. They started reviving the terminology of Jihad in the past 50 years with the Intelligence Agencies assistance in the West mainly after the incidents in Afghanistan.

    Distribution of terrorism in the world

    Terrorism has become part today’s life. It has become the first heading in the news, posing a mounting threat to world security and stability, causing remarkable political, economic and moral damage, bringing stress to many people who find themselves between the hammer and the anvil forcing them to leave the country or to be displaced, conducive to mass killing of innocent people, mainly civilians such as children, women, old people.

    Since terrorist attacks have become more diverse, multi-faceted and complex that has many ideological, criminal, military, economic, political, religious and nationalistic aspects, counter-measures had to be taken with regard to the ongoing foot dragging terrorist phenomenon by preventing extremism which is the leeway to terrorism, by identifying those who are alien to their community and by minimizing their influence on their peers. That is the reason the Russian Defense Ministry had a department for counter-terrorism operations which deals with suppressing terrorist attacks, securing civilians, neutralizing terrorists and minimizing the effect of the attack.

    The Russian Federation Armed Forces counter terrorism armed with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Federal Law “On the Fight against Terrorism”, international treaties, executive orders of the Russian President, resolutions and directives of the Russian Federation Government, as well as directives issued by Minister of Defense, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, commanders-in-chief of the Armed Services, commanders of the fighting arms and commanders of military district forces, known as (fleets).

    The Federal Law of the Russian Federation No. 130-FZ of July 25, 1998 “On the Fight against Terrorism stipulates that the ministry of defense shall work in cooperation with other entities shall conduct counter-terrorism operations, analyze the information on the current status of international terrorism, its dynamics and escalation. The law also reads: The Ministry shall formulate suggestions on developing cooperation in combating terrorism; take part in developing an effective counterterrorism system in line with the current tactical situation and terrorism development trends; coordinate joint efforts intended to prevent terrorist attacks on nuclear sites or attacks involving weapons of mass destruction; take part in special operations to eliminate illegal armed groups and block illegal traffic of arms, ammunition and fissile and highly toxic materials; prevent the development of pro-terrorist views and sentiments among general public.

    However, Russia still focuses on its cooperation with other nations to fight terrorism which has become a transnational phenomenon, by signing some agreements such as extradition of terrorists, bilateral security, and intelligence treaties with some countries including the exchange of information. Recently, after the Russian government adopted its new Military and Security Doctrine and paved the way for being open and not taciturn to anti-terrorism agenda by taking part in many forums about extremism and terrorism. Since 1991, Russia has become much more involved in responding to terrorism under all names.
    It has started this in 2001 with the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which it set up with China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for both economic and security issues. However, Russia has been always focusing on the regional and international anti-terrorist structures and threats which, if happens in one place, they would have the domino effect on the other countries unless a concerted effort is taken to combat extremism and terrorism collectively. Since 2000, Russia has called for platforms to counter-terrorism and to facilitate intelligence information database sharing to abort any terrorist attempts worldwide.

    However, the Western states did not listen to these demands; thus, we had the so-called 9/11/2001 incidents in the USA which proved Russian logic and its far-sightedness to ring the alarm bell against such threats which will not be limited to one place but rather they would extend and expand as a cancer to other places of the world, benefitting from the weak and war-torn countries as is the case with Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Libya as well as Afghanistan.

    As Russia has developed itself to play proactively at the international arena, mainly in Asia and Africa, it has focused recently on combating terrorism as it does not threaten world peace but rather it endangers its stability and economic development. Since terrorism acts at higher stakes in volatile regions such as Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, Russia’s proximity to these regions forced it to be more active at the global level by launching war against terrorism.

    The perspective of Russia is that the whole world is one globe and humanity faces same threats ranging from trans-regional terrorist networks, drug trafficking, organized crime and so on. Thus, such issues should be identified and addressed accordingly. This requires information exchange. That is why the Russians called on the Americans to exchange information about terrorists in Syria and Iraq to abort their attempts which are meant to destabilize the world and to mushroom terrorist groups to many places throughout the world. Since 2000, Russians wanted to share with others the Russian experience to fighting extremism which starts with educational methodologies, security surveillance, cultural methodology prevention and exchanges of information about terrorist groups. However, many Western states have not listened to the Russian call and currently they are paying the price of ignoring the Russian warning against terrorism.

    When Russian took decision to fight terrorism in Syria in 2015, it has achieved in few days more than what other countries had achieved in a year, fighting Daesh and other terrorist groups. This has been confirmed by the New York Times issue on 14 of October 2015. The paper said: “Russian fighter jets are conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day as the American-led coalition has been carrying out each month this year, a number which includes strikes conducted in Iraq – as well as Syria”.

    Moreover, Russia has been coordinating with the Syrian government and army on the ground to assist Syrian troops against terrorism. The inconsistency of the proclaimed goal of Western-led coalition against terrorism in Syria and Iraq and that of Russia is that the first has achieved nothing but has tried to contain Daesh while the Russian intervention has achieved the goals by aborting Daesh from crossing borders and announcing its Caliphate State from far east to north of Africa as set by its leaders. It has become known as some American experts acknowledge that the US regards the Syrian government and its regime as the last sphere of Russian influence in the Middle East, posing threat to American interests in the same region.

    Source: Institute for Economics and Peace

    If we get back to the Afghanistan war in the 1970s and 1980s, we find out that the Americans has armed and trained the terrorists in that country and provided them with funding to overthrow the legitimate government. The same applies to recent history in Syria and Iraq as well as Libya. Thus, any country which is an ally to Russia has been punished by sending and implanting these terrorist cells within the borders of these states to disconnect and dismember them; cutting the ties between Russia and these allies under the name of spreading democracy. The recent issue of dismembering Yugoslavia and the creation of Kosovo to destroy Serbia, a close ally to Russia or as the western media labels them as cousins to Russia reminds us of what is going on in Iraq and Syria nowadays under the name of fighting terrorism.

    Source: Global Terrorism Index 2015

    Weren’t Daesh and Al Qaeda direct results of the American war on Iraq in 1991 and 2003? A secret that has not been revealed before is that when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein went into war against the Americans and after the Americans started their airstrikes against the Iraqi army which was pulling out of Kuwait in 1991, the Iranian forces started entering from southern Iraq. This has led the Americans to reconsider one of the two options: to allow the Iranians to occupy Iraq or to allow Saddam Hussein to fight back. They picked the second option. They gave him arm again and he fought the Iranians at that stage and once he finished his mission, they finished his mission too by paving the way for others to take the floor such as the extremists who were the nucleus of both Al Qaeda and Daish.

    From the very beginning to the so sudden world, the extremist group first known in the media as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or the then known Daesh, has appeared quite dramatically as it has been widely unheard of until 2011. In other words, they were in the sleeping in that “Magic Lantern of Aladdin” for many years and once the West felt that they are fed up with the so-called Al-Qaeda, which has become worn out or outdated with the new version of terrorist bogeyman.

    Some documents leaked in 2012 have entailed proposed terrorist threats. David Steele, a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, said:
    “Most terrorists are false flag terrorists, or are created by our own security services. In the United States, every single terrorist incident we have had has been a false flag, or has been an informant pushed on by the FBI. In fact, we now have citizens taking out restraining orders against FBI informants that are trying to incite terrorism. We’ve become a lunatic asylum.”

    Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook confirmed this idea saying: “The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an intensified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the United States.”

    Steele added: “The US is reviving terror scare with ISIS to promote the terror war industry.”

    If one listens to the statement of former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who told reporters at the Pentagon that “Daesh is a terrorist group beyond anything we’ve seen. They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of … military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we’ve seen”. Isn’t this a reminder to all of us that these groups have come from somewhere and only superpowers can create them at the right time.

    Terrorists and the use of media

    Terrorists are more and more using media outlets, especially the Internet as a means of communication with the rest of the world. But who facilitates their communication? All severs are in the western states? Aren’t they? For example, Facebook, Paltalk, Skype, Twitter and other means of communication such as Whatsapp application which is in two major places in France and the USA and Viber in Israel amongst other software which are designed to help humanity not terrorists. Thus, these countries can cut off these channels of communication and deprive these terrorists from using them for recruiting people and brainwashing minds, but the purpose is not so, the purpose is to drive these terrorist to use such means in order to carry out what is planned. Sadly to say that this is what we witness every day on our channels By now, we have seen some images from propaganda videos published on terrorist sites and rebroadcast on media news channels deliberately or unintentionally. Terrorists use media properly to serve their goals and to recruit followers and supporter to carry out missions.

    In conclusion, creating a bogeyman, then declaring war on this jinni endanger the whole world as this monster will turn out to be a vampire and thirsty for blood to survive and prosper. By then, it would be more powerful than expected and not easy to defeat. It is time to consider means of concerting Russian sincere efforts to fight terrorism and terminate this monster before being cloned into various bogeymen that would endanger human civilization and advancement.

    Speeches of heads of states and presidents are taken directly from the Kremlin website

    Shehab Al Makahleh