NEWSLINK: “The ‘Russia Scare’ Coalition: ISIL’s ‘Useful Idiots’? Victory by the ‘Russia scare’ coalition will limit America’s ability to fight ISIL, complicate efforts to win UNSC support for tough enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal and give China more leverage over both Moscow and Washington.” – The National Interest editorial

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“The turmoil surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation and wider allegations of links between President Donald Trump, his campaign and Russia seems to have made a strong impression in Moscow. Many there had already calibrated initially unrealistic expectations after Mr. Trump’s initial weeks in office; recent events have tempered even these more limited ambitions. Hopes have long faded that Washington […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan. Russian inroads complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the government, stamp out the Taliban and end America’s longest war.” – Wall Street Journal

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“#Russia is making fresh inroads into #Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile #Kabul government, stamp out the resilient #Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war. Moscow last month disclosed details of contacts with the Taliban, saying that it is sharing information and cooperating with the radical movement … to fight the local affiliate of #IslamicState, which […]

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Turkey Signals Cooperation With Russia Against Islamic State

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Selcan Hacaoglu, Firat Kozok – July 4, 2016) Turkey may cooperate with Russia in fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, just days after the countries agreed to work to repair strained ties. Cavusoglu denied signaling in an interview Sunday that Turkey may let Russia use southern Incirlik air base for operations in Syria. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Repressing Islam in Russia. Salafis mustered. A crackdown drives Dagestan’s Muslims towards Islamic State.”

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

Since last autumn, the authorities in Dagestan have ramped up pressure against Salafis. They have reason to worry: as Moscow launched air strikes in support of Syria’s government, the Islamic State (IS) declared a holy war on Russia, took credit for downing a Russian passenger jet over Egypt and released a video threatening “a sea of blood” in Russia itself. […]

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RBTH: Why does Moscow need Syrian Kurdistan?

Syria Map

Why is the Kremlin supporting the Syrian Kurds, who are now complicating the reginal picture by pushing for federalization, and how will this affect Russian assistance to the Bashar al-Assad regime? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – SERGEI DEMIDENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 24, 2016) Sergei Demidenko is a Middle East expert and professor at the Russian Presidential […]

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Russia’s militant migrant challenge

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Russia’s terrorist threat has evolved. But the authorities are yet to evolve with it. (opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – March 17, 2016) Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s SCPS Center for Global Affairs. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In Moscow’s Shadows and tweets as @MarkGaleotti. Why did Uzbek nanny Gyulchekhra Bobokulova call out […]

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RBTH: Airstrikes on ISIS continue as Syria ceasefire holds

Syria Map

The truce in Syria brokered by Russia and the U.S. appears to be holding, despite reports from some parties of violations. However, the ceasefire does not extend to groups that are recognized by the UN as terrorist. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – March 1, 2016) Despite accusations of ceasefire violations coming from different sides […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin’s address following adoption of a joint statement by Russia and US on Syria

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(Kremlin.ru – February 22, 2016) The President made a special address following the adoption of a joint statement by the Russian Federation and the United States of America, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), on the cessation of hostilities in Syria. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, I just had a telephone conversation with President of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Tajiks fear weaker Russian presence will open the way for ISIS. Locals in Tajikistan are worried about the possible reduction of Russian servicemen in the country, as the Islamic State militant organization grows in strength in neighboring Afghanistan.” – RBTH/Gazeta.ru

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Time magazine

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 15, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev has given an interview to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster following the Munich Security Conference. Question: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview with Time magazine. I would also like to thank you for your remarks today at the conference. This was a very interesting and eloquent speech. You made a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Muslims in Russia See Putin’s Antiterrorism Efforts at Home as Backfiring. North Caucasus residents say crackdown often leads to new recruits for Islamic State.” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

The Wall Street Journal covers concerns that Russian government policies will fuel more terrorist recruits for the so-called Islamic State. President Vladimir Putin justifies his military action in Syria in part as a way to head off the terrorist threat at home, especially here in the mostly Muslim north Caucasus. But residents say the government’s often heavy-handed measures are instead […]

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Interfax: Self-styled groups, not soldiers, fighting Islamic State – Chechen source

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Interfax – Moscow, February 9, 2016) There are self-styled groups of young people from Chechnya fighting the Islamic State terrorist group [ISIS] (which is banned in the Russian Federation) in Syria and Iraq, a source within the leadership of the Chechen Republic told Interfax. “There have been people from the Chechen Republic in the area of armed conflict in Syria […]

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Fukuyama: ‘Putinism,’ Radical Islam No Alternative To Liberal Democracy

Putin Descending a Staircase

(RFE/RL – January 29, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin and the extremist Islamic State group are sworn enemies that might seem to have little in common. But both are engaged in efforts at state building that U.S. political scientist Francis Fukuyama says share two qualities: each seeks to create a political alternative to a modern liberal democracy, and each is […]

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Interfax: Russian air force operates in interest of 11 Syrian opposition units

Syria Map

(Interfax – January 11, 2016) The Russian Aerospace Forces aviation group has carried out dozens of air strikes in support of the offensive conducted by 11 detachments of the Syrian democratic opposition fighting against terrorists in Syria, head of the Main Operative Department of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi told reporters on Jan. 11. “Russian […]

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Interfax: Truthfulness of evidence of oil smuggled to Turkey from terrorists-controlled areas raises no doubt – senator Ozerov

Federation Council file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 5 (Interfax) – Russia has no doubt about the credibility of the evidence it showed of oil supplies to Turkey from ISIL-controlled areas, said Viktor Ozerov, head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee. “These are objective documents. With the system of capabilities that the U.S. and other NATO states have, joking and serving – to put […]

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New York Times/Anatol Lieven: “The Key to Crushing ISIS”

Middle East Map

Writing in The New York Times, Anatol Lieven addresses the fight against ISIL. Since the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama and a range of other Western leaders have agreed that ISIS must be crushed, Syria and Iraq stabilized, and the flow of refugees reversed. If ISIS, Al Qaeda and their supporters are the greatest enemies of the West, […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Chechnya Holds Classes to Counter IS Propaganda”

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

AP covers Chechnya’s difficulties with Islamic terrorist recruiting. Authorities in Russia’s predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya have organized classes to stave off Islamic State recruitment. Thousands … have joined IS in Syria … some have taken senior positions. Islamic militancy has engulfed Russia’s North Caucasus … nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Dagestan from Syria, the number of […]

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Combating ISIS from within; Officials look for ways to stop the influence of Islamic State along Russia’s southern borders.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – December 1, 2015) On the eve of the Paris attacks, ISIS extremists published a video in Russian: “Soon, very soon,” it said, “there will be a sea of blood.” Experts believe ISIS is indeed a real threat for Russia. On Oct. 31, a Russian plane exploded, killing all 224 […]

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Hagel: Russia, U.S. Must Fight Islamic State Together

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 23, 2015) Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for including Russia in a consolidated global battle against Islamic State, and suggested putting aside the inevitable disputes between Washington and Moscow for the sake of the fight against terrorism. Hagel dismissed the disagreements between the West and Russia about Syria’s President […]

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Russians Fear Clashes With Islamic State More Than With NATO – Poll

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 23, 2015) Nearly one in five Russians believe their country could become the site of “major clashes” with NATO forces within the next decade, a recent poll indicates. According to the poll, 19 percent of respondents said battles against NATO were possible on Russian territory. An even higher number, 28 percent, think that battles […]

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Possible Russia-West Rapprochement Over Syria Stokes Fears In Europe’s East

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – Pete Baumgartner – November 19, 2015) France’s surprise embrace of Russia in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris has raised concerns across the former Soviet bloc that Moscow wants to leverage the fight against Islamic extremists in Syria to secure Western concessions over Ukraine. Just days after the massacres in the French capital killed 129 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Victoria Nuland Remarks at the Berlin Security Conference

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(US Department of State – November 17, 2015) Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Berlin, Germany (As Prepared) Thank you, Reimer for that introduction. Thank you to: Mr. Uwe Proll; BSC Congress President, Ambassador Jiri Sedivy; Behorden Spiegel; and of course, Ambassador Emerson and the U.S. Embassy staff in Berlin for hosting us today. Ambassador Philippe […]

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Parsing Putin: Russia Sends Signals To The West In Statement On Jet Attack

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – November 18, 2015) A few hours after French President Francois Hollande called for Moscow and the West to fight Islamic State (IS) militants together in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris, Russia abruptly announced it was now certain a terrorist bomb blew a passenger jet to pieces over Egypt on October 31. […]

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Interfax: Cooperation with USA, Saudis against ISIS possible – top Russian diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 9, 2015) Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA can cooperate to fight ISIS and other terrorists in the Middle East if there is mutual interest in this, says special envoy of the Russian president for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Bogdanov. “As regards the trilateral format of cooperation […]

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ASN 2016 World Convention Call for Papers (Deadline Reminder: 29 October)

Columbia University Campus with Main Building

Subject: To Post: ASN 2016 World Convention Call for Papers (Deadline Reminder: 29 October) Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 00:30:09 +0000 From: Dominique Arel <darel@uottawa.ca> To: davidjohnson@starpower.net <davidjohnson@starpower.net> Dear David: could you post this Deadline Reminder on JRL? Thanks, Dominique [A PDF of this announcement can be accessed at http://nationalities.org/uploads/documents/ASN16_Call_for_Papers.pdf] Call for Papers 21st Annual World Convention of the Association […]

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RBTH: No common ground for Russia and U.S. on ISIS

Syria Map

Three weeks after Russia began bombing runs in Syria, American and Russian officials continue their disagreement about the goals of the campaign. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol, Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – October 21, 2015) On Sept. 30, Russia’s air force began bombing targets in Syria. Since that day, Russian planes have made hundreds of sorties dropping […]

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Interfax: Joint command in fight against ISIL unrealistic, but efforts on the ground should be coordinated – Lavrov

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

MOSCOW. Sept 29 (Interfax) – At their meeting in New York, the Russian and U.S. presidents did not discuss a coalition to fight the Islamic State (ISIL) group in ‘the classical sense of the word’, any joint command is unrealistic, but activities on the ground and airstrikes require coordination, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. The Russian and U.S. […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: “At UN, Putin talks tough against IS. Will the West work with him? The Russian president bluntly blamed the US for the chaos in the Middle East. But his plan for an alliance against IS may still find some listeners in the West.”

Middle East Map » Read more

NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Weighs Talks With Russia on Military Activity in Syria. Pentagon leaders grilled over strategy to deal with regime of Bashar al-Assad.”

Syria Map

The Wall Street Journal reports on U.S. military and foreign policy responses to stepped-up Russian activity in Syria, including Congressional criticism of the Obama administration. The Obama administration is considering discussions with Russia on military activities Syria in what would mark a shift in approach as U.S. policy comes under growing criticism at home. * * * In a scorching […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest/Thomas Graham: “Russia’s Syria Surprise (And What America Should Do about It)”

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

[featured image is file photo] “Russian pride will not allow Moscow to join a U.S.-led coalition, but we should be able to work in parallel, coordinating air strikes and other actions for maximum effect in degrading ISIS.”

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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RBTH: How effective is Russian drive to combat ISIS recruiters?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

People in both Russian diplomatic circles and the security forces have been describing Islamic State (ISIS) as a “real threat” for a long time now. On Aug. 1 a hotline will start working in Russia for those whose friends or family members have joined ISIS. With experts warning that ISIS cannot be defeated with force alone, RBTH found out what […]

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IS Boosts Russian-Language Propaganda Efforts

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – July 6, 2015) The militant group Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its Russian-language propaganda efforts, another sign that its Russian-speaking contingent is becoming more powerful. Though Russian-speaking IS militants have put out their own propaganda for some time, in recent weeks a new Russian-language IS media wing — Furat Media — has […]

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Russian Security Fear Citizens Joining ISIS More than Ukrainian Separatists

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 22, 2015) More than 1,000 Russian citizens are believed to be fighting alongside the Islamic State, but Moscow is unable to stem the flow of militants to the terrorist group, nor the flow of “volunteers” to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a top security official said in an interview published Monday. […]

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Experts Downplay Trend of Russians Joining Islamic State

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 18, 2015) Reports of Russian citizens taking up arms for the Islamic State terrorist group have dominated headlines in recent days, sparking debate about the cause of the apparent trend. Andrei Novikov, head of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) Anti-Terrorism Center, told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that according to […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: ISIS on the Move: Russia’s Deadly Islamist Problem

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Killings of leaders of the ongoing insurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus no longer make front page news in either Moscow or foreign capitals, and the recent violent death of Emirate Caucasus’ emirAliskhab Kebekov is no exception. But regardless of whether such deadly news is buried in the inside pages or not, the North Caucasus insurgency, whose representatives not only regularly […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian diplomat calls for renewed cooperation with West against ISIS

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(RIA Novosti – January 13, 2015) The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) poses just as much of a threat to Russia as it does to the West, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of new threats and challenges, Ilya Rogachev, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 13 January. “ISIL […]

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In Implicit Criticism Of West, Russia’s FM Calls For ‘More Serious’ Fight Against IS

Map of Middle East and North Africa with Inset Map of Holy Land

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – January 13, 2015) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a “more serious” fight against the Islamic State (IS) group, amid reports that the militant group is present in Afghanistan and is expanding elsewhere. “‘Islamic State’ is a structure that calls for a great deal more attention and a more serious reaction. […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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What Can Russia Bring to War Against Islamic State?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – October 28, 2014) Moscow will not join the U.S. effort to thwart the Islamic State terrorist group until Russian-American relations improve, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this weekend. The big question, however, is whether Russia is in fact in a position to offer any substantial aid to the anti-jihad campaign – […]

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Moscow Times: Russians More Afraid of U.S. Than Islamic Terrorism, Survey Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 22, 2014) Nearly a quarter of Russians believe that the United States poses a bigger terrorist threat to their country than radical Islamists, a survey published Tuesday showed. Twenty-two percent of respondents to the poll by the state-run All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), titled “Terrorist Threats Against Russia: New Sources,” […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Kerry Remarks at a Solo Press Availability

John Kerry file photo

(US Department of State – John Kerry, Secretary of State – October 14, 2014) Paris, France SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good evening, everybody. Thanks for your patience. This has been a very productive couple of days, and I’m glad to have an opportunity to be able to catch up on the discussions that we’ve had, both with Foreign Minister Fabius as […]

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Interfax: Most Russians unaware of ISIL, others see it as threat to peace, Russia – poll

Map of Iraq

MOSCOW. Oct 9 (Interfax) – Only 13% of Russians are aware of the existence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and 54% learned about it during a poll held by the Public Opinion Foundation. Another 26% of 1,500 respondents polled in 43 regions on September 28 had heard something about the ISIL, and 7% failed to […]

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Islamic State Grooms Chechen Fighters Against Putin

Map of Iraq

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Michael Winfrey – October 9, 2014) When the Islamic State commander known as “Omar the Chechen” called to tell his father they’d routed the Iraqi army and taken the city of Mosul, he added a stark message: Russia would be next. “He said ‘don’t worry dad, I’ll come home and show the Russians,’” Temur Batirashvili said […]

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Russia Calls for Joint Effort With U.S. to Fight Islamic State

Map of Iraq

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s deputy foreign minister on Monday called for a joint effort between Moscow and Washington in fighting the radical group Islamic State, but appeared to play down fears of a high number of Russians in the group. “The Americans say terrorism represents a direct threat to their national security. I think the […]

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Islamic State to Putin: We Are on Our Way to Russia

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 4, 2014) Members of the Islamic State, a violent group of extremists presently terrorizing Iraq and Syria, have released a video threatening President Vladimir Putin and vowing to wage war in Russia’s restive North Caucasus. Message to Putin A video released by Al Arabiya and reportedly filmed in a seized airport in […]

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