Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moscow’s Airstrikes in Syria Accompanied by Widespread Counter-Terrorist Operations inside Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 13 – While the world is focusing on Russia’s airstrikes in Syria, actions the Kremlin is justifying to its domestic audience by saying it must hit the terrorists abroad before they can attack inside Russia, Russian security forces are simultaneously conducting counter-terrorist actions across many regions of the country. 

            The preemptive arrests in Moscow naturally attracted a great deal of attention, but Russian siloviki have launched counter-terrorist operations across the North Caucasus as well in Chechnya, Daghestan, and Ingushetia. There have been casualties both among the siloviki and among the militants (kavpolit.com/articles/dejstvovat_na_operezhenie-20593/).

            According to Magomed Edilsultanov of “Kavkazskaya politika,” “part of society is already drawing links between the decision of Russia to participate in the Syrian conflict and the intensification of terrorist activities in the regions and the capital,” even though “the authorities are certain that Russia’s special services are ready to counter the terrorist threat.”

            Such linkage means both that ISIS militants and other terrorists may have an even greater incentive to launch attacks inside Russia in the near future and that the Russian siloviki will undoubtedly invoke that threat as justification for an even tougher crackdown than the ones they have launched in the past.

            Putin’s recent words that Russians are “accustomed to the manifestation of evil” both inside Russia and abroad and the Kremlin leader’s suggestion that unless one is ready to use force against terrorists and militants, they will inevitably continue to strike” have been much quoted in recent days, the journalist suggests.


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