The EU’s decision to extend sanctions on Russia shows that Vladimir Putin has been unsuccessful in selling the idea at least in Europe that what he is doing in Syria is part of the West’s anti-ISIS effort, Igor Eidman says; but that should come as no surprise because in fact Putin has no reason to fight ISIS in any serious way.
In a note on the Kasparov.ru portal today, the Moscow commentator says that Putin and ISIS have “common goals and in general resemble one another. Putinism and ISIS are reactionary projects which declare the return of traditional archaic values, religious morals and patriarchal morality.”
“There are attempts at a conservative revolution against expansion of ideas ‘coming from the West,’ and in fact against democracy, human rights, tolerance and freedom. The main ideological foundation of both is clericalism, traditionalism, aggressive anti-Westernism, xeno- and homophobia, and sexism,” Eidman writes.
Moreover, he points out, “the tactical tasks of ISIS and Putin also correspond: They are equally interested in exacerbating the situation in the Middle East,” Putin – because this represents his last chance to reverse the decline in prices for oil, and ISIS – because it represents its own chance for “further expansion.”
Eidman continues: “Putin considers the US his main enemy. He sincerely believes that the Americans … are guilty of all Russian problems (from the Ukrainian revolution to the downing by the Turks of the [Russian] bomber.” And because he does, ISIS as “the enemy of my enemy” is thus a potential friend and ally.
Russia’s military presence in Syria is ‘a guarantee that the West will not be able to remove Assad and form a government in Syria, on which it could base a real war against ISIS,” Eidman says. “And, without such a reliable ally inside the country, NATO will not begin a large land operation against the Islamists.”
Consequently, “as long as Putin stays in Syria, nothing threatens ISIS.” Of course, Eidman says, “the ISIS leadership isn’t telling is rank and file Islamists” about this cooperation. Therefore some of the latter have blown up the Russian passenger jet over Sinai and will commit other acts of violence against Russian targets.
But such things don’t create a problem for Putin, the Moscow commentator points out. “On the contrary, he is used to using such tragic events as the occasion for tightening the screws and strengthening his own power.”
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