VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for ISIS?” – PBS Newshour

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

(PBS Newshour – July 12, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/many-russian-republic-fighting-isis) “In the republic of Dagestan, a brutal separatist insurgency has long fought against the Russian state. Now, as many as 5,000 Dagestanis have left to fight for the Islamic State. Why have so many answered the call? As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Suspends Syrian Air Operations Accord With U.S. After Airstrikes; The decision poses a new complication for Trump administration’s push against Islamic State” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Nour Malas, Maria Abi-Habib, James Marson

U.S. Naval Vessel Firing Tomahawk Cruise Missile at Night

Moscow swiftly suspended an agreement with Washington for military coordination in Syrian skies on Friday following the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian base …. heightening concerns of more unpredictable reactions from … al-Assad’s backers, in particular Iran, to the U.S. strike, conducted in retaliation for a suspected regime chemical attack on a village. It threatens to derail the delicate alliances that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Russia Became the Jihadists’ No. 1 Target; Monday’s bombing in St. Petersburg might be only the beginning of a new terrorist wave” – Politico/COLIN P. CLARKE

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

“… too soon to say who is responsible for the bombing … in St. Petersburg … it wouldn’t be surprising if international terrorists were responsible. Russia is fast replacing the United States as the No. 1 enemy of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other Sunni jihadist groups …. recent Russian actions in the Middle East … escalating intervention in Syria and its […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Should Muscovites fear Muslims?”

Russian Mosque file photo

Over the past decade the Russian capital’s Muslim population has swelled to almost 2 million, or about 15 percent of the total population. This has led to tensions with locals who are increasingly suspicious of the newcomers’ intentions, brash behavior and strict religious traditions. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEVGENY LEVKOVICH, RBTH – March 13, 2017) [Text with […]

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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: “Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran” – Wall Street Journal

Iran Map and Flag

“… Trump … is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State …. The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile … Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with … Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran – one […]

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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: “Chechnya: Russia’s Islamic State? Troubled republic in secular Russia has been thoroughly ‘Islamized’ by staunch Putin ally” – Wall Street Journal/YAROSLAV TROFIMOV

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

In theory, Chechnya – though overwhelmingly Muslim – is an integral part of the secular Russian Federation, governed by the same laws as Moscow. In practice, however, this North Caucasus republic of 1.4 million people, ravaged by two wars of secession, lives under very different rules. Under strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel who has become a fervent ally of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia” – AFP

NATO Meeting file photo

NATO foreign ministers were … finalising the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. … [At] a “landmark” summit … in July … NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter […]

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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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Grozny Says No Chechen Agents Helping Russia in Syria

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 9, 2016) An unidentified source in the Chechen government has claimed that there are no members of law enforcement agencies among Chechnya’s fighters in Syria, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday. The Chechens fighting in Syria consist of independent groups of young people who oppose the Islamic State, the source told the news agency. […]

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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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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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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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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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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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