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Watch out ISIS - Russia's Special Forces Are Coming for You

In key meeting with security officials Putin authorises Russia's Special Forces to target Islamic State leaders responsible for downing Russian airliner

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Putin’s meeting with his security officials - during which FSB Director Bortnikov informed him that the Metrojet airliner was brought down by a bomb - has been widely reported.

Understandably enough, it is being linked to the escalation of Russia’s aerial bombing campaign in Syria.

In fact careful scrutiny of the transcripts of Putin’s meeting with the security officials, and of his subsequent visit to the Russian armed forces’ command centre where he was briefed on the progress of the military campaign, does not confirm this.

The nearest anyone comes to making such a link is Putin when he said these words:

“Our aviation should not simply continue military operations in Syria, but enhance them so as to make it clear to the criminals that vengeance is inevitable.”

These words repay careful reading. 

Putin is talking about enhancing an ongoing military campaign.  He does not say that campaign is Russia’s vengeance for the downing of the Metrojet airliner.  Rather what he says is that it is a reminder to the perpetrators “that vengeance is inevitable”.

That suggests the escalation of the bombing campaign was part of the original plan, and is being driven by developments on the ground - specifically the Syrian army’s offensive - rather than by the terrorist act.

Russia’s real vengeance is going to take a different and for Baghdadi and his associates in the leadership of the Islamic State and their various collaborators an almost certainly far more unpleasant form.

Russia’s Special Forces have now been unleashed.  

Putin spelled it out:

“We have to do it without any period of limitation; we need to know all their names. We will search wherever they may be hiding. We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them.

Whoever tries to help the perpetrators ought to know that they would bear full responsibility for any attempts to harbour them.

I would like all our special services to focus on this work.”

Russia has some of the most ruthlessly efficient Special Forces (“Spetsnaz”) in the world - as the jihadis in the Caucasus discovered to their cost. 

Different Spetsnaz units are controlled by the army and by the FSB.  Possibly the most deadly are the FSB’s units: Apha and Vympel.

They now have Baghdadi and the leadership of the Islamic State in their sights, and their agents are almost certainly already working in Egypt, Iraq and Syria as I write this.

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