Staunton, November 23 – Independent Chechen journalist Musa Muradov adds another dimension to Moscow’s complicated relationship with those North Caucasians its security forces allowed to go to fight for ISIS in Syria. He suggests that the Russian government did so in order that as many would be killed as possible in ways allowing Moscow to avoid responsibility.
He makes that point in the course of an interview posted on the OnKavkaz portal (onkavkaz.com/news/1975-musa-muradov-siloviki-ne-meshali-vyezdu-kavkazskoi-molodezhi-v-siriyu-a-potom-nachali-ee-unicht.html). The Russian force structures helped North Caucasus radicals leave, did not promote anti-ISIS propaganda early on, and clearly hoped that those going would be killed.
Such an arrangement would suit Moscow perfectly, Muradov argues, because it would see many of those who might otherwise fight against it in their homelands be killed in ways that Moscow could plausibly argue it had nothing to do with, thus reducing the chance that these deaths would lead to more anti-Russian feelings in the region.
(Muradov’s words do not mean that other reports which suggest that some of the ISIS fighters from the North Caucasus were Russian agents under various degrees of control and may, now that Moscow is helping to extract them, be used elsewhere. On that possibility, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/11/moscows-extraction-of-isis-cadres-from.html).
Kavkaz-Uzel reports on another Syrian-North Caucasus development. Asker Bor, a Circassian activist, says Damascus is actively opposing the departure of Circassians from that country, an opposition that Moscow is fully respecting even as it is pulling some others from the North Caucasus out (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/1927/posts/30769).