Russia: an Enabler of Jihad?
Russian officials have had to contain their glee in monitoring recent political events in America and Europe. They appear to think their days in the cold may soon be over. Much has been made of President-elect Donald Trump’s wish to improve relations with Moscow, but the last news out of France appears even more auspicious to Moscow.
The far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen, is known for her pro-Putin sympathies. Now, with François Fillon’s nomination as the center-right candidate, both major contenders in next year’s French presidential election are favorably disposed toward Russia.
These warmer feelings towards Russia are based, mainly, on changing threat perceptions in the West. Since the emergence of the Islamic State and the proliferation of terrorist attacks in Europe and America, many Europeans and Americans appear to view Moscow’s aggression against its neighbors, such as Ukraine and Georgia, as an increasingly esoteric problem.
Particularly after Russia’s intervention in Syria, even on the right many now view Russia not as a threat to the West but as a natural ally in defeating the jihadi threat.
While this notion is gaining popularity, it is at best the triumph of hope over experience, and at worst a dangerous delusion. Russia’s interaction with radical Islam over two decades shows that it is part of the problem, not the solution. In fact, leaders in Moscow have a track record of manipulating radical Islam whenever that has suited their purposes – including systematic collusion with Islamic extremists. A few examples illustrate this policy.
The Fallacy of ‘Compartmentalisation’: the West and Russia from Ukraine to Syria
In the post-Soviet space as well as the Middle East, Western leaders have largely failed to heed ample evidence that the goals of the Russian leadership are fundamentally opposed to […]
The Revolt of 1916 in Russian Central Asia
Marking the centennial of the 1916 Revolt in Russian Central Asia, the Central Asia Caucasus Institute releases a new edition of Edward Dennis Sokol's pioneering book, originally published in 1954, now with a new foreword by S. Frederick Starr.
Fourth Vector: Making Sense of Kazakhstan’s Activism in International Organizations
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has developed a track record of being the most proactive and innovative former Soviet republic in the sphere of international cooperation. Kazakhstan’s […]
The EU and Kazakhstan: Developing a Partnership in Trade and Transport
In 2015, the EU revised its Strategy for Central Asia, and finalized an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kazakhstan. These welcome steps will not turn the EU into a […]
Kazakhstan: An Island of Stability in a Turbulent Region
Kazakhstan’s stability and predictability has been central to the newly uprgraded status of relations with the European Union. Key to this is Astana’s model of orderly and centralized reforms as […]
Turkey is Expecting a Restart with the U.S.
The Kurdish question has, once again, complicated Turkish-American relations. The rhetoric of anti-Americanism remains useful to whip up and mobilize nationalist opinion. Yet, Erdoğan’s Islamists are not any aspiring anti-imperialists. […]