Putin using all means against the West – including Islamist terrorism – Piontkovsky says

According to Andrei Piontkovsky, Putin has a broad network of agents in ISIS, a network created and expanded by former KGB chief and Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov. (Image: nr2.com.ua)

Image: nr2.com.ua 

2016/12/13 - 10:08 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

Tragically, Andrey Piontkovsky says, Washington does not yet understand that Vladimir Putin is not and will not “struggle against Islamic terrorism together with the West” but rather is “using all available resources and instruments,” including Islamic terrorism, to “conduct total hybrid war against the West.”

Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst

Andrey Piontkovsky

In a 2000-word analysis on the Radio Liberty portal today, the Russian commentator argues that this failure to understand what Putin is about when it comes to dealing with terrorism is found not only among the leaders of the Obama Administration but with those who will head the incoming Trump one.

And Piontkovsky suggests that unless US leaders recognize how Putin is exploiting the Islamist threat not only to build his increasingly totalitarian regime at home but also to disorder and undermine the West, the consequences for the Russia people and the West will far more disastrous than anything either has seen so far.

A few days after he was elected US president, Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal that “’the Islamic State’ is the most dangerous enemy of the West,” that Putin is fighting it, and therefore that the US must stop focusing on minor differences with Moscow and “concentrate on a joint struggle against the common enemy.”

That view, which is widespread not only among Trump supporters but also among many in the Obama camp is the result of a “monstrous” combination of “lies of some and of naiveté and stupidity of others,” the Russian analyst says.

“There is a mass of evidence about the strategic cooperation of the Kremlin and ‘the Islamic State,’ about the conscious dispatch by the FSB of Caucasus militants into its ranks, about the use by Moscow of terrorists as an instrument for weakening and destroying the West” and also about Putin’s use of terrorism to build his increasingly vicious state at home.

After each terrorist action, the Kremlin and its agents ever more boldly and baldly make the following argument: “Lift sanctions and begin to cooperate with us or [such] actions will continue.”

Indeed, “the Kremlin almost openly offers the West protection from further terrorist acts but of course on its own harsh conditions: ‘a new Yalta’ and at a minimum Moscow’s full control over the entire post-Soviet space.”

That has been obvious for some time, Piontkovsky points out, noting that he wrote about this already in August. But now it is important to ask just what tasks it could resolve by “’the unification’ of its forces with those of Putin’s Russia” by considering the situation on the ground and its own successes and failures in the past.

It is essential that the US recognize that “if terrorism is not defeated ideologically in the hearts and minds of the majority of Muslims, then the umma will immediately push forward out of its milieu new militants in still greater quantities” under new names perhaps but with the same goals of defending one branch of Islam against another.

There has been “only one case” where “a fundamental victory” over the Islamists occurred: in 2007-2008 when Al-Qaeda was driven from Iraq as a result of an alliance between the Americans and the Sunni tribes. What made that so impressive, Piontkovsky suggests, is that only a few months earlier Al-Qaeda had appeared to be an the height of its powers.

This case should but has not become the lesson for the West that it might have been and still should be, he argues. “Islamic radicalism or Islamo-fascism can be defeated but only within Islam itself by Muslims who reject the program of a return to the Middle Ages.”

“Jihadists can find a seedbed and recruits for their cause only if the Sunni community finds itself in despair because of attacks by Shiite radicals,” Piontkovsky says. That was true in Iraq and “the very same logic of events has been repeated in Syria where in the very same years arose a second wing of ‘the Islamic State.’”

In 2011, the Sunni majority there, together with supporters of democratic change, appeared to be on the way to displacing the Assad dictatorship which is based on the Shiites who form only ten percent of the population and which has remained in power only by the vicious use of force. Given its base, Piontkovsky suggests, Assad couldn’t hope to stay in power indefinitely.

But then the Kremlin went to work. Employing what he calls “the wily thesis” that support for the Sunni majority and the opposition to Assad would “bring to power the jihadists,” a claim that is exactly opposite to the truth, the Obama administration and the West more generally did not stand up to Assad and his Kremlin backers.

And that has produced exactly what those who believe in the Kremlin’s lies say they fear: the radicalization of opinion among the Sunnis. Under attack by Assad and Putin and betrayed by the West, they not surprisingly feel they now have nowhere to turn but to the radicals who at least promise self-defense.

“For more than a year, Moscow has consistently and physically destroyed in Syria the Sunni opposition which was oriented to the West on behalf of the sect of the ‘legitimate’ dictator Assad.” As a result, today there are only two players in Syria: “the Kremlin agent Assad” and the jihadists which are being used by Moscow as an instrument to pressure the hated West.”

Piontkovsky asks: “How can one explain the surprising servility of the Americans before the Kremlin forces in Syria?” The US has “shown its ability to adequately respond to Putin’s hybrid aggression in Ukraine and the Baltics, but in the Middle East, the US has turned out to be a victim and hostage of its mistakes” and moreover ready to make “new capitulations.”

Obama has put his faith in some kind of “Lavrov-Kerry pact,” refuses to acknowledge that he has made any mistakes in the Middle East, continues to blame all the problems in that region on former President George W. Bush, who left office almost eight years ago.

Unfortunately, however, this tendency is not confined to Obama. Since November 8, Donald Trump has “not once spoken the words ‘Aleppo’ or ‘Syria.’” And during his campaign, he frequently praised the actions in Syria “not only of Putin but of such a battler with terrorism as Assad.”

“Does Trump as before consider that ‘for victory over ‘the Islamic State’ we need the Russians?” Or, the Russian commentator asks rhetorically, “has someone explained to him that not only is this not the case but that such a mantra is “an exceptionally useful instrument for the Kremlin in its hybrid war with the West?”

As in Iraq, so too in Syria, what the US needs for victory over the jihadists are Sunnis “who rose against the hangman Assad and whom Obama promised to defend at least from a chemical attack by the ‘legitimate’ authorities. But both the one and the others were betrayed by the American administration.”

After he takes office next month, Trump “will be forced to end his silence,” but by then Aleppo and its residents are likely to have been destroyed by Assad and the Russians. If the incoming president remains true to his “pre-election conception of a joint struggle together with Putin and Assad against Islamic terrorism, he will be blessing the continued genocide of the Sunni population of Syria.”

“If something like that happens, this will be worse than a crime,” Piontkovsky says; “this will be a colossal political mistake.” It will lead to the metasticization of jihadism, the strengthening of Putin and dictatorships across the region he backs, and the weakening of the United States and the West.

Apparently, Washington officials do not understand what they are going, he continues. “But in Moscow, they understand exactly what they are doing.” Because the outcome of such a configuration of forces will work to the benefit of the Kremlin. Indeed, it will do so even if it leads to terrorist attacks in Russia itself.

As Putin has shown since coming to office, such attacks also work to his benefit, allowing him to tighten the screws on the Russian population and setting the stage for unending hostility to the outside world.

If the US is to be even “relatively successful in the fight with Islamic terrorism,” Piontkovsky concludes, two principles must guide its actions:

  • First, the US must focus on protecting the Sunni majority in Syria and the Sunni minority in Iraq or it will see more jihadism emerge.
  • And second, he says, Washington must end all talk of “’a joint struggle together with Putin against terrorism’” because such a chimerical idea includes within itself exactly the opposite outcome that the Kremlin and its agents invariably suggest.

Related:

  1. Evidence found that occupied Donbas produces Grad-P rocket launchers for Islamic State
  2. Putin and ISIS have ‘common goals and resemble one another,’ Eidman says
  3. FSB defector’s claims about Moscow’s ties to ISIS consistent with other evidence, Kirillova says
  4. Putin “played no less role” in creation of ISIS than Stalin did in rise of Nazis, Shmulevich says

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Mephisto

    Now Putin has a mole in Washington. And russian intelligence is helping this mole to select his government – Tillerson, Flynn and other russian moles. The US government has been hijacked by Putin. I just still cant believe that the Americans elected this imbecile for president. The whole world will become much more dangerous.

    • anonymous

      It is now up to Europe and the rest of the west to split with the US and do the good fight against the Russian criminal organization. Europe can quickly and finally end the criminal organization by stopping all business with it. Fear of the result of doing business with the Russian criminal government should be greater than doing no business with it. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. The time it will take to “defeat” that criminal organization with the current sanctions is realistic. However, with the US now set to cooperate and do business with it, these sanctions are now not enough for any time frame.

      • laker48

        The US didn’t lose hundreds of thousands of their GIs fighting European wars to leave it alone. Don’t expect any changes in US defence policy, only moving US bases out of Germany to central and eastern Europe for economic reasons. The US can maintain twice as many US military assets i the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and, eventually, Ukraine, than in Germany.

        • anonymous

          US has no commitment to Ukraine other than a few words (like in the Budapest Memorandum). President Trump will recognize Crimea as Russian (joining with North Korea). President Trump will stop economic sanctions (The Trump family will profit in billions as Russia always rewards its friends). President Trump will make the grand bargain on spheres of influence (he met early with Kissinger on how to do this). A few token propaganda Republicans will raise loud meaningless voices. Republicans will support their President in whatever decision he makes. Make Russia Great Again is the Trump presidency. Only Europe can stop the Putin criminal organization. The US will cooperate with Russia. If Europe cannot find the will to stop, there is no hope. I hope I am wrong about Trump but just look at his words not his Republican apologists.

          • laker48

            Trump is American and Exxonmobil is a US energy giant, the world’s largest publicly traded corporation, and a direct competitor to the RuSSian oil and gas industry. Both the US and Exxonmobil have time and money, while RuSSia has neither. The only continuity in the US foreign policy is preserved by the Pentagon and the US defence industrial sector that secure the US’s global interests, so it was not by chance that Trump has vowed to increase the US defence budget by 20%, i.e. roughly by $120 billion a year, or by twice as much as the whole RuSSian military spendings. Trump is too smart to leave RuSSia with any breathing space the US cannot totally control.

          • Mephisto

            you are still in denial that Trump is essentially a russia-controlled mole. He will not protect US interests, he will try to weaken the US
            http://putintrump.org/analysis/

          • laker48

            Well, let’s wait and see who is right.

      • Mephisto

        many European countries are not much better and have fallen victim to the same russian propaganda as the US – Russian moles have been elected, Russian sponsored parties are in parliament. Take for example France – the coming election will be between Fillon and Le Pen, both russian moles. So France will be pro-Russian, US will be pro-Russian, GB will be pro-Russian. Who is going to fight putlerism when the whole West has been eroded by russian propaganda and russian moles and russia sponsored parties have taken over politics?

  • laker48

    Gullibility of many western diplomats and heads of states is stunning and paralizing.

    • Kruton

      People believe what they want to believe.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      They are not gullible- they are weaklings as Daladier and Chamberlain were in 1938. The West needs leaders such as Churchill, Truman, de Gaulle, but is stuck with Merkel, Hollande, Obama. Hollande’s potential successors are no better- Le Pen, Fillon, with Le Pen openly admitting to being paid by the dwarf. Germany is riddled with Putinknutschler; as for Trump, the less said the better.

  • Dirk Smith

    Putinism is simply ISIS in a suit and nuclear weapons. WAKE UP!!!!!

  • zorbatheturk

    Putin has used the US presidential vacuum to destroy Aleppo. Another horror show from The Putinator. IS is Putin’s best friend. Wake up, Trump.

    • laker48

      Slow down! Palmira is back into the rebels’ hands.

      • zorbatheturk

        Putin needs to get out of Syria and Ukraine… and anywhere else! Funny how repressive regimes everywhere find their champion and weapons supplier in the Putinator. The man is a merchant of death.

        • laker48

          The longer little Putler stays in Syria, the sooner the fascist RuSSian Federation goes belly-up.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    It should hardly be a surprise that Dwarfstan is using IS. The USSR directly and indirectly supported any movement that it thought could help achieve its goals during the Cold War- the IRA, RAF (through its east German lackeys), Action Directe in France, Red Brigade in Italy, not to mention the communist parties in Western Europe which were heavily subsidised by Moscow. There was also support for Marxist movements and governments in Africa- MPLA in Angola for instance.
    The dwarf is simply repeating what his Kremlin predecessors did.