Attacks on Russia Will Only Increase

(Defense One) Colin P. Clarke - As Russia's involvement with the Syrian civil war deepens, it's a near-certainty that Sunni militants will intensify their burgeoning campaign against Russia, which has been increasingly perceived as a vanguard of Shia interests. There are thousands of Russian citizens fighting with ISIS, and another 5,000 to 7,000 Russian-speaking jihadists, making Russian the second-most popular language spoken within ISIS. This means that Sunni jihadist groups have a ready-made, native force to send back home to Russia, where the militants can more easily blend in with local populations while plotting further attacks. Much of the violence afflicting Russia may, in the end, stem from its own actions. Prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian authorities allegedly encouraged Sunni militants to leave Russia for Syria, where they could wage jihad against the Assad regime. But with the caliphate now under strain, some of these relocated militants might return home and link up with jihadists in Dagestan, Chechnya, or other restive Russian republics. The writer is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation.

2017-04-05 00:00:00

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