Is Putin fighting the wrong war? A report by The Telegraph reveals

The British newspaper “The Telegraph” reported that “Russian President Vladimir Putin may have convinced himself that Russia’s main enemy lies in the West.” But the deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall, carried out by a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), makes clear that Islamist terrorists pose a deadlier threat to his country’s well-being. The Kremlin has a long and bloody history of fighting Islamic extremism, starting with Russia’s brutal military campaign in Chechnya, to Moscow’s recent military intervention in Syria, where Russian forces participated in eliminating the Islamic State’s declared caliphate in Raqqa.

According to the newspaper, “It is worth noting that the main justification that prompted Putin to deploy Russian forces in Syria in 2015 was to target Islamic extremists who controlled large areas of the country, even if his main motive was to keep the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow’s old ally, alive. in power. In the context of explaining his decision to intervene in Syria in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, Putin made a dramatic call for the formation of an international coalition to fight global terrorism, and compared the campaign to defeat ISIS to the Allied efforts to defeat the Nazis during World War II.

The newspaper continued, “These days, Putin has adopted a completely different approach, as confronting the West, not Islamic extremism, has become his top priority. Today, many of the Russian forces who fought ISIS in Syria are mired in a brutal conflict in Ukraine. After the devastating attack on the Crocus City concert hall in Moscow, where a group of Islamist terrorists shot and killed at least 133 people, Putin may now find himself that, by tightening his military focus on Ukraine, he is fighting the wrong war. “After the destruction of the ISIS caliphate in Syria in 2017, there has been a worrying trend, in both Moscow and the West, to believe that the threat posed by Islamist militants is on the way out.”

The newspaper added, “This is certainly the thinking that prompted the administration of US President Joe Biden to make the disastrous decision to withdraw US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, and hand over control of the country to the Taliban.” Putin even made a rare public announcement supporting the decision, a judgment he may regret following reports that the group responsible for the concert hall attack was based in Afghanistan and operating under Taliban protection. Although most world leaders view the Taliban regime in Kabul as relatively benign, this is not the view of the Western intelligence community which, on the contrary, believes that Afghanistan has once again become a safe haven for Islamic terrorist networks. Moreover, one of the most disastrous consequences of the 2021 withdrawal was the complete destruction of the Western intelligence collection network there.”

According to the newspaper, “The tactics used by the terrorist group responsible for the Moscow attack were disturbingly similar to those used by Hamas in its attack on Israeli civilians on October 7.” In such circumstances, it would be better for Putin, instead of escalating his confrontation with the West, to lend his support to international efforts aimed at combating the modern threat of terrorism.”

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