HomeAnalyticsWhy ISIS "moves" to Pakistan and the Balkans

Why ISIS "moves" to Pakistan and the Balkans

Moscow’s involvement of Pakistan and Beijing in its “game” against Washington around Afghanistan is no less worthy of attention than the Kremlin’s “games” in the Middle East around Syria and on the Korean Peninsula around the DPRK. The scheme of action for Afghanistan, as well as for Syria and the DPRK, is common and stereotyped for the Kremlin: the creation of a crisis and the sale of services to “settle” or “resolve” its derivatives in exchange for the necessary concessions from the West for Russia.

No one is taking notice on the Russia’s attempts to prove its “usefulness and necessity” and to justify its place in the world community by appeals to the joint fight against terrorism. And already from different international platforms and sites, it is increasingly heard that the investigation of the Kremlin’s links with the world’s terrorist centers is on the agenda.

The US imposition of sanctions against Russia at the level of the law became a natural stage in the international isolation of the Kremlin, in which it fell due to the occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea and certain areas of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the destruction of moderate opposition with Bashar al-Assad, and not ISIS in Syria, meddling in the US elections, attempts to organize coups and other destructive actions in the international arena.

But this does not stop Moscow, and experts indicate that this turn is not the last one, predicting the situation for the future. Kremlin will try not only to expand and deepen existing crises, but also to create new ones. At the same time, the specific forms of manifestation of such crises, generated by Moscow, depend on the course of events at the main points of world tension.

Russia and the Taliban

Judging by the evolving events, Putin intends to press on the Afghan theme, using long-standing and close relations with the Taliban, a terrorist organization formally banned in Russia, just like ISIS.

But just like in the case of ISIS, Russia, formally banning the Taliban, maintains close relations with this organization, and quietly supplies arms, turning it into a problem whose solution can be traded with the West, in particular the US.

So, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said directly and not “embarrassed” about this situation at a press conference held on August 22 in the State Department. “Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban. Obviously, this is a violation of international rules and violation of the rules of the UN Security Council. We will certainly object to this and will draw Russia’s attention to this”, – the US Secretary of State said.

Earlier this was stated by the Commander-in-Chief of the United Armed Forces of NATO in Europe and US Army commander in Europe, US Army Gen. Curtis Scaparotti: “Russia is providing assistance to the Islamist Taliban movement in Afghanistan, which is fighting against the US-backed government.”

At a hearing on the Armed Services Committee of the US Congress, he said about evidence that Russia was stepping up its efforts to influence on the Taliban.

Later, the CNN channel published photos of Taliban fighters, which, according to the information from television channel, are supplying weapons by the Russian authorities. At the same time, two separate groups of Taliban in the north and west of Afghanistan claim that they are supplied weapons by the Russian authorities. According to them, they got weapons from Russian representatives through Iran for fighting against ISIS, and according to militants from another Taliban group near Kabul, they received weapons from Russians for free across the border with Tajikistan.

As always, the Russian Foreign Ministry refutes these reports, calling them “a campaign of disinformation.”

At the same time, on the one hand, the Russians represent the Taliban themselves as a lesser evil than the ISIS, and maintaining contacts with this organization with arguments that they prevent the influence of the Caliphate in Afghanistan, and also maintain the view that the Peace in Afghanistan could be achieved only through negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Establishing and developing secret contacts with the Taliban, Moscow plans to make them a starting point, the so-called site for its further “hybrid intervention” in Afghanistan and the creation of controlled “proxy resources” in this country.

On the other hand, Moscow forms an opinion about possible union between ISIS and the Taliban in Afghanistan. So, even earlier, the Russian president’s special representative in Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told in an interview about a possible union of the Islamic state and the Taliban movement to the agency Interfax. Asked whether ISIS will try to take control of the territory of Afghanistan, Kabulov noted that “there is a danger, and such intentions have already been identified by ISIS, and some sources say that the office of ISIS has already been established in Afghanistan and there have already infiltrated about a hundred ISIS fighters “.

It is worthwhile noting that two years ago in Moscow, Kremlin began to work out the Afghan direction of pressure on the United States. As further events showed, Putin then decided not to promote further the Afghan theme and put this scenario in a box until better times. It means until the election of the new US president.

However, the practical steps of Donald Trump have become a very unpleasant cold shower personally for Putin and his entire top. The agreement about a joint “fighting against ISIS” in Syria and Iraq against the backdrop of continuing terrorist attacks in Europe and the continuing terrorist threat, as well as to return to the “handshake” club, which should subsequently lead to the lifting of sanctions, did not happen.

Therefore, Moscow began raising rates, using “Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear threats”, and also to force contacts with the Taliban by the summer of 2017. And, in connection with the successful actions of the US-led coalition for the destruction of the Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Kremlin starts very active “to transfer” ISIS to Afghanistan.

Why Russia want to get Pakistan

At the same time, the next phase of Moscow’s sharpening of contacts through military and military-technical cooperation with Islamabad is also explained by an attempt to involve Pakistan in deterring the US in Afghanistan. For Russia, the maximum linkage of the US in this country and the further confrontation of the United States and Pakistan are beneficial, which automatically means difficulties with logistics support for the American contingent, and this potentially strengthens Moscow’s negotiating positions, giving it additional trump cards to solve its own problems in relations with Washington.

At the same time, we note once again that the involvement of Islamabad in the “game” of Moscow takes place together with China, Pakistan’s ally in the region, by forming an appropriate background and prerequisites for the emergence of a terrorist threat coming from the territory of Afghanistan to their borders in the near future.

Pakistan has recently experienced the deadly threat of terrorism and extremism; while China wants to be sure that no challenges will be an obstacle to its plans related to the China-Pakistan economic corridor project and to prevent the destabilization of the Chinese province of Xinjiang by the so-called Islamic Movement of the Eastern Turkistan, connected with ISIS and the Taliban.

Therefore, Russia deliberately held tripartite talks with China and Pakistan on the discussion of the situation in Afghanistan, without inviting representatives of India, Afghanistan and the United States.

Simultaneously, Moscow, like playing on the “one side of the barricades” with Beijing and Islamabad, including the sphere of military-technical cooperation, trivially uses the latter for their own purposes, hiding behind the “strategic partnership”, and also creates terrorist threats, using others, at their borders and provokes additional contradictions and confrontations along the lines: Beijing-Washington, Beijing-Delhi, Islamabad-Washington and Islamabad-Kabul.

Weapons for Islamabad?

As for the next loud statements from Moscow about the successful military-technical cooperation with Pakistan and plans for the delivery of MI-35 attack helicopters, air defense systems and T-90 tanks in the near future, it should be noted that for three years, since 2014, the Russians declare a major “breakthrough” in bilateral relations with Islamabad in this area, but everything was limited only to general phrases during bilateral consultations and information noise.

At the same time, experts noted that it was more like the blackmail of Delhi from Moscow, because the Indians, tired of constant malfunctions and breakdowns of Russian technology, low implementation rates and difficulties in joint projects such as FGFA (a fifth-generation joint fighter) , MTA (joint project for the creation of a transport aircraft), began not only to make claims, but also engaged in diversification of many types of weapons that were supplied by Russia, especially in terms of readiness of Western companies to transfer technology. In 2014, when the current government came to power in India, prime-minister Modi decided to completely diversify the economy, while increasing the share of foreign arms suppliers in the local market.

But everything began to change from the end of last year, when former US President Barack Obama refused to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and then, in 2017, the current American leader, Donald Trump, increased the number of permanent contingents in that country and began criticizing Islamabad for its soft politics that they do not want to make efforts to fight terrorists who have settled in the territory of the neighboring state. At the same time, Islamabad criticized the US strategy on Afghanistan, and Washington, on the contrary, began to consider India as a partner in the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan.

In this regard, while playing to intensify bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in the military and military-technical sphere, Moscow, in parallel with the strategy of “educating India,” began to play the above-mentioned “party” of containment of the United States in Afghanistan.

In witness whereof, as well as the transition of the Russian “procurement” in Afghanistan in an active phase, where both Pakistan and China will be “played”, the statement of the Head of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center, Colonel-General Andrei Novikov on October 5, indicates that the ISIS militants flee to the Pakistani province of Waziristan due to the defeat in Syria.

Well, according to Russian propaganda, thanks to the successful actions of Moscow and Damascus in the fight against the Caliphate.

“Based upon the activity of ISIS in Afghanistan, it can be assumed that the strategic goal of ISIS in the medium term is to expand the presence in the north of Pakistan with access to areas near the borders of the states of Central Asia and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China”, – he said in an interview to RIA Novosti.

Also, according to Novikov, the militants not only change the tactics of military operations, but they also relocate their activities to other geographic regions.

At the same time, this statement of Colonel-General Andrei Novikov was announced immediately the day after the end of the Russian-Pakistani antiterrorist exercises “Friendship-2017”. Coincidence? I do not think so.

Not only Afghanistan

In addition, along with the Afghan theme, analytics now talk quite a lot about a new hotbed of tension that could also erupt in the Balkans in the near future – there ethnic problems can outgrow into the Christian-Muslim conflict, of course, thanks to the Kremlin and its “fifth column”, where Moscow will dynamically “screw” ISIS.

In witness whereof, we should also cite the above-mentioned statement of the head of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center Colonel General Andrei Novikov, where he also mentioned the Balkans, besides Pakistan. “The majority of terrorist fighters will return to the countries of exodus or leave for other states the same routes as when leaving for the conflict zones. Special studies show that the Balkan route is particularly in demand”, – the General said.

At the same time, some Russian experts commented on Novikov’s statements in this vein: “There are whole enclaves of radical Islamists in the Balkans. Most of them are in Bosnia. Many “fighters of jihad” came there to fight in the 1990’s, and so they remained. Slightly fewer of them were in Kosovo, in the Albanian areas of Macedonia. Entire “Wahhabi” villages are in Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, and of course – in Bosnia and Albania. It is easier to get lost in the Balkans, and geographically this region lies down between the Middle East and Western Europe. Especially convenient are Kosovo and Bosnia, where there are no states and there is complete administrative anarchy. It’s easier there to hide, mix with the crowd. And in other countries of the region, special services are not the strongest”.

Therefore, it is worth recalling that in 2016 during the visit of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to Serbia, he presented several gift boxes to Vojislav Sesel with pictures of the Crimea annexed by the Russian troops, noting that he would like to receive a gift from the leader of the Serbian radicals himself, many of whom, as is known, participated in the events in the Crimea and on the Donbass on the side of Russia, something that symbolizes the return of Kosovo to Serbia.

As if to implement the declared plan, in December 2016, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs Milorad Dodik announced holding a referendum on the separation of Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in January 2017, the confrontation of Serbian authorities with Kosovo Albanians visibly aggravated against the background of the incident with the train from Belgrade. The fact is that since the proclamation of independence of Kosovo, no trains have gone along the Belgrade-Pristina route. However, on January 14 of this year a passenger train departed to the Kosovo. At the same time, painted in colors of the national Serbian flag wagons in 21 languages, including Albanian, were clearly provocative in the eyes of Albanians inscriptions: “Kosovo is Serbia”.

Russian media, including well-known propagandists on the events in Donbass, like Alexander Kots ), began to actively engage in the information preparation of this legend, reporting about radical Islamists with experience of fighting in Iraq and Syria, flooding Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Kosovo. Separate articles in the Russian media directly predicted the coming war in the Balkans, accusing it of ISIS in advance.



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