Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Nikolai Patrushev and Elena Chernenko - Terrorism, Ukraine and the American threat: the view from Russia

 Former Russian spy chief Nikolai Patrushev, now head of the powerful security council that advises the president, believes his country is under threat – from terrorists, from colour revolutions and, particularly, from America. Ahead of a recent conference to discuss global instability, Patrushev spoke to Kommersant about civil liberties, Syria, and western aggression.

Nikolai Patrushev: Global instability is growing precisely because the west continually seeks to solve its problems at the expense of others. This has led to sovereignty and territorial integrity being undermined in a series of Middle Eastern and North African countries. That, in turn, gave extremists and terrorists the opportunity to gather their forces and entrench their positions.

The consequences of the spread of chaos across the world are now entering a new phase. We have witnessed a highly dangerous development whereby extremist cells operating in different regions of the world unite under the auspices of the so-called Islamic State (Isis), which is in fact a terrorist organisation created from one of the branches of al-Qaida.

This pseudo-government has secured the allegiance of such odious groups as Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia and part of the Taliban movement in Pakistan. A whole string of terrorist organisations in central Asia and the north Caucasus have also sworn loyalty to Isis, including the Turkistan Islamic Party and Caucasus Emirate.

Isn’t the US calling on all countries to unite to fight Isis?
Such appeals are certainly being made. But anti-terrorist coalitions forged by the US are essentially being used to intervene militarily in the affairs of sovereign states.

You can see this in Syria where the attempt to depose the lawful president, Bashar al-Assad, resulted in support being leant to opposition forces. That explains why airstrikes on Isis positions occur only intermittently. It just so happens that if the terrorists are fighting against Assad, they can be considered legitimate, whereas if they harm American interests, as, for instance, in Iraq, they must be annihilated. [The Americans] define which terrorists you can parlay or have dealings with, and which not, solely on the basis of their own interests.

I would like to underline the fact that fighting international terrorism as a single country or narrow coalition is ineffective by definition. Terrorism cannot be defeated alone or by separate groups because it doesn’t obey neatly defined geographical boundaries and can strike these groups without warning. In this regard, Russia is prepared to cooperate with the security services of any country on any continent, including the US.

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