‘Putin not interested in fighting Islamism but promoting instability and undermining the West,’ Eidman says

Putin's Russia - militarized and ready for imperialist aggression all over the world (Image: TTOLK.ru)

Putin's Russia - militarized and ready for imperialist aggression all over the world (Image: TTOLK.ru) 

2015/11/19 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Western countries may be willing to form a “tactical” alliance with Russia about the fight against ISIS, but any such accord will have limited value both because “the struggle with Islamism doesn’t interest Putin” and because “history shows” that the Kremlin leader will violate it whenever it suits him, Igor Eidman says.

Igor Eidman

Igor Eidman

In the course of a roundtable discussion with Radio Liberty’s Mikhail Sokolov, the Moscow sociologist says that he does not expect any grand bargain between Moscow and the West because of Putin’s actions and his reputation for agreeing to do one thing and then doing just the opposite.

If the West does agree with Putin on some kind of cooperation against ISIS, “the West will not get anything out of this.” Instead, “Putin yet again will deceive Western politicians and wrap them around his fingers.” But, Eidman says, he hopes that the West won’t give up anything fundamental to gain Putin’s temporary agreement.

And he adds that in his opinion, “there will not be any serious alliance with Putin on the struggle with Islamism or on any other issue between the West and Putin. Some kind of marriage dances may take place, some kind of talks – they are already going on – but most likely this will end with nothing or almost nothing being agreed to.”

“The history of the Ukrainian conflict shows, any agreements that can be reached with Putin, he will violate at will and try to use any situation not for solving declared goals such as the struggle with ISIS or Islamism but rather for solving his own specific tactical expansionist tasks.”

A major reason for this, Eidman suggests, is that “as the history of the Ukrainian conflict shows, any agreements that can be reached with Putin, he will violate at will and try to use any situation not for solving declared goals such as the struggle with ISIS or Islamism but rather for solving his own specific tactical expansionist tasks.”

Moreover, he continues, there is no possibility that Putin will “genuinely enter into an international coalition” against ISIS and subordinate Russia’s actions to that group in the defense of civilization. That would “contradict all the practice of Russian policy and all its tasks which to a large extent do not differ from the tasks of the Islamists” – including aggression and “the destruction of the civilized world order.”

Given “the total propaganda” at his command, Putin can probably get Russians to “support whatever he does,” including a possible ground operation in Syria. But how stable and long-lasting support would be is very much in doubt, given the experience with the war in Afghanistan.

With regard to the possibility that the West might sacrifice Ukraine in the name of getting Putin to agree to support an anti-ISIS effort, Eidman says that he very much doubts that will happen. And he bases his conclusion on the nature of public opinion in Western countries, which is fundamentally different from what is called “public opinion” in Russia.

“There isn’t going to be any long-term close alliance between Russia and the West, and the West isn’t going to stop supporting Ukraine in order to fight ISIS.”

“If you look at Western and European public opinion,” Eidman says, “it, in contrast to Russian pseudo-public opinion, is not so controlled or not so in the extreme case clearly dependent on state policy but to a much greater degree depends on certain fundamental things.” That generally precludes the sharp turns that authoritarian regimes often make.

“As long as Putin and his regime are in power, as long as the annexation of Crimea and the de facto occupation of the Donbas continues, as long as all this continues, neither public opinion, nor political elites, nor governments or leaders of the West will return to the former policy of cooperation with Russia and to the former attitude toward Russia as a normal civilized country with which one needs to maintain close ties and good relations.”

Those in Russia, Ukraine and the West who fear a new Yalta are being overly “pessimistic,” he suggests. There isn’t going to be any long-term close alliance between Russia and the West, and the West isn’t going to stop supporting Ukraine in order to fight ISIS. That kind of thing just isn’t going to happen, Eidman says.

Thus, “there will not be a principal change of the situation because public opinion is not in a position to turn so quickly and suddenly fall in love with the Putin regime, and Western leaders depend on public opinion in their countries unlike the Russian rulers. Therefore,” Eidman says, he “does not think that any catastrophe or tragedy will occur.”

“Putin’s main goal in the Middle East is to create chaos, boost the price of oil, and thus improve his situation at home.”

And for those leaders who would ignore this public opinion, he suggests that they should focus on the fact that Putin’s main goal in the Middle East is to create chaos, boost the price of oil, and thus improve his situation at home. Stability in the region won’t help him, and so why should anyone think he has any but a propagandist interest in that?

Indeed, Eidman concludes, Putin almost certainly would like the current conflicts there to intensify and spread, possibly including Saudi Arabia, where if a civil war were to break out between Sunnis and Shiites, that would represent the achievement of “Vladimir Vladimirovich’s lifetime dream.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Forgotten Ghost

    [I posted this on another article that I was reading, but thought it might be more relevant to re-post it here, given that this one is more recent. I apologize for the copypasta, but they are my own words, and I forgive myself for plagiarism against myself. Enjoy.]

    I recall a few years ago, reading an article in a printed defense
    publication that Israel had just finished forming up a fairly large
    mercenary force, intended to be used as an undercover “rebel” army.
    Though I can’t recall the name they gave it (it was in Hebrew), they
    were quite proud of it, and suggested that their mission was to be the
    infiltration of neighboring states and Hezbollah. They were initially
    manned with Israelis, Jordanians, Lebanese, and Saudis as well as a few
    other nationalities.
    For some, the idea of Russia being at odds with
    Israel throughout this whole current conflict is considered obvious…
    and that’s where I beg to differ. The main component in any operation we
    have witnessed in recent history has been deception. Mossad slogans
    notwithstanding, it has been the calling card of every coup, strategic
    move, and of course act of “terror” that the “major players” have been
    party to. When there is such an operation in play, the posturing,
    deflection, and maneuvering are often missed until well after the fact,
    and this makes a case for allowing precedent into our formulations on
    what we may be dealing with now.
    For instance, the first paragraph I
    wrote is something that I personally know to be true, which
    overwhelmingly suggests that Israel created IS. Whether or not they
    control them still could be debated, but in recent times there were
    reports of IS wounded being treated in Golan Heights, so it stands to
    reason that they still serve a commanding role over them. We also know
    that anyone with internet and an interest in world affairs has probably
    heard this. So, why would Putin and his cabinet make numerous references
    to IS being the baby of America, without so much as a peep about
    Israel’s involvement? In the media (which tends to have blinders on for
    Israel, say what you will) we have seen in recent months all manner of
    pot-shots taken at the US, the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey, the UK, Germany,
    France… heck, just about everyone except for Israel and Russia, in
    regards to a potential relationship with IS. Meanwhile, Iran has been
    quietly moving into trade deals and forming partnerships, Syria has been
    doing a lot of PR, and those “refugees” have been steadily coming in
    from places that aren’t even near the war zones. Russia won’t speak ill
    of Israel, yet they will insult and provoke just about everyone else? I
    sense an unpublicized alliance of sorts, and with Russia, that’s always
    bad.
    Take note of how Russia’s actions are benefitted by IS. Take
    note of how Israel’s are also. Now, take note of how Russia’s actions
    benefit Israel… or could. With lip service to “proper procedure”
    regarding Assad’s exit from power, Putin is gaining just enough trust to
    remain in Syria, and keep his presence there. He could very well use
    that presence to ensure that Golan Heights, with it’s oil, stays in
    Israeli hands. The Israelis are already planning to build a multi-level
    bunker complex there, and a project that large requires time and a safe
    buffer zone from violence in order to complete. For their part in
    protecting and furthering Israeli interests, it is perfectly reasonable
    to then guess that IS, which is an Israeli creation, could be used to
    further Russia’s interests. Many Israelis are from Russia, and the two
    have always had close ethnic ties to some degree.
    I have heard very
    little from Netanyahu about Russia lately, though I could have missed
    it. Regardless, unless Israel was threatening imminent war with Russia,
    then there is nothing that could disqualify them from being in collusion
    with Putin’s schemes at present. Perhaps America is about bled dry, and
    their morale too low to continue being the arms supplier and Middle
    East muscle for Israel… and Putin wants that job. Syria looks like
    “tryouts” for Russia. If Putin illustrates a desire to perform false
    flags against not only Russians, but other citizens, and can keep
    Israel’s next big money maker safe, then I’m guessing he’ll have a nice
    retirement position should he survive long enough.
    With all of the insults hurled at America for what Russia does, and Israel does better, I suspect a changing of the guard.
    Well, that’s my current loony conspiracy model. Take it with a grain of salt, because plants crave electrolytes

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Israelis from Russia are overwhelmingly if not 100% Jewish and given Russia’s history of antisemitism I don’t see them being overly pro-Russian. Most of them left Russia/USSR because of the antisemitism they experienced. Indeed, Zhirinovsky, an openly extremely antisemitic and nationalist politician, got over 12% of the votes at the last Duma election. Interestingly, he is half-Jewish, his father being a Jew; his REAL name is Eidelstein. Presumably he would get more at the next Duma election given the rise in extreme nationalism in the past two years.
      I don’t see Israel having anything to do with IS at all, as IS considers Israel an enemy to be destroyed.
      As for Netanyahu’s recent tête-a-tête with the dwarf, he probably went to Moscow to ensure that the dwarf’s aeroplanes don’t enter Israeli air space. This could cause all sorts of awkward situations.