France and Russia unite to fight terrorism; where is Washington?
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
During these last couple of weeks the world watched in horror as a series of tragic acts unfolded in Russia, Lebanon, France, courtesy of ISIS.
It’s now clear that ISIS and its affiliates make no difference between East and West. Anyone opposed to a radical Islamist World Caliphate is to be wiped off the face of the earth. What happened in Paris could very well happen in Washington and New York, according to the Islamists. This means that East and West must pool their forces to annihilate their common enemy.
Anyone aware of the basic facts about Islamist terrorism would logically view Russia as the most valuable ally in that fight -- given that Russia has had more experience fighting the terrorist threat. In the 90s it had a sort of Islamist State on its territory called Ichkeria -- otherwise known as Chechnya. Russia defeated bands of fanatics that espoused the same kind of radical Islam as that of ISIS, and today Chechnya is one of the most prosperous and peaceful countries in the Russian Federation; its traditional Muslim population implacably opposed to fanaticism and radicalism.
Still, the government of Russia, with its nearly 20 percent of Muslims in the Caucasus and elsewhere, knows some individuals will fall prey to purveyors of radical Islamist ideology, given the millions of Muslim guest workers and immigrants from Central Asia. Terrorist attacks, including in Moscow, were greater than the latest massacre in Paris.
Now Russia is doing its utmost to defeat Islamist terrorism. Its planes based in Latakia, Syria, as well as cruise missiles have done more in a few weeks to crush the infrastructure and overall military potential of ISIS than the U.S.-led coalition forces did in almost eighteen months.
Cooperation with Russia is imperative, beyond vague statements of intent and rhetoric. What stands in the way is Washington’s attitude toward Putin and Assad.
Billions of dollars have been spent by politicians and the media to demonize Russia’s president. Most Russians believe this is because Putin stands up for his country’s national interests; refuses to follow Western dictates; objects to NATO expansion to Russia’s borders; and helped Crimea and Donbas, where multi-ethnic predominantly Russian speaking population make up most of the inhabitatants, in their opposition to the coup in Kiev sponsored by the West.
The US and EU positions may vary slightly, but the question is whether their differences with Russia are greater than those between Roosevelt and Churchill, on the one hand, and Stalin on the other. Surely the West and Russia can form an anti-Islamist coalition, just as they were allies in the war on Nazism. The parallel is convincing to any unprejudiced mind — yet Putin’s repeated suggestions that a world-wide coalition be organized are senselessly rebuffed. Maybe the Paris atrocity will change Western minds. One hopeful sign is French President Hollande’s decision to go to Moscow after visiting President Obama.
As for Bashar al-Assad, a dictator in the same league as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak -- all of whom became the victims of the Neocon “democracy” that covers a naked lust for world power. In the Middle East, the march of democracy left hundreds of thousands dead and wounded, including brave American men and woman, a much greater toll than that of all these dictators combined. What the US got for trillions of taxpayer dollars is the rise of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, etc.
Even so loyal a friend as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admits that Bush’s invasion in Iraq (with his support) contributed to the rise of terrorism. George’s brother Jeb has also said that the war was a mistake. Even Bush senior admits it, laying the blame on Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
We urgently need a real anti-terror coalition, committed to deeds and not just rhetoric. Let Assad be until the terrorist leadership is knocked out. Then let the people of this ancient land be free to elect their government without foreign interference.
White House announced that “Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be preceded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well as a ceasefire.”
World War III is already on. It’s not a-classical war, but unless East and West defeat this enemy together, it will spread across the planet.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons