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Moscow is not a reliable partner for Washington in combating international terrorism. On the contrary, the Kremlin supports forces in the Middle East and elsewhere that oppose the US. It aims to deflect violent jihadism toward the West both to shield Russia from being targeted and to weaken America’s global influence. Vladimir Putin’s Russia possesses all the attributes of a terrorist sponsor, by engaging in terrorist attacks against its own population and playing a significant role in developing terrorist networks outside its borders. Russia’s security services have engaged in domestic terrorism both to subdue and manipulate public opinion. The most notorious outrage occurred in September 1999 shortly before Putin was appointed President. John Dunlop, a distinguished scholar at the Hoover Institution, in his landmark book The Moscow Bombings of
By launching cruise missile strikes on government forces in Syria, successfully obliterating dozens of ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan, and dispatching a military flotilla to confront the North Korean regime, the Trump administration has sent four strong messages: to dictators, allies, Russia, and Western populists. Trump’s moves overturn several years of fruitless diplomacy and empty threats by the Obama administration and appear to be working. Although the cruise military strike in Syria only involved one airfield, it was swift and decisive, thereby demonstrating to dictators such as Bashar al-Assad that the new White House values hard deeds above tough words. White House action was in stark contrast with the previous administration, which warned of consequences for war crimes and the use of prohibited chemical weapons but did not deliver
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin will fall from power when another cataclysmic event reveals to his supporters among Russia’s rich and corrupt oligarchs that the emperor has no clothes, that his credibility as the country’s authoritarian leader is exhausted. This was the conclusion of several groups of senior Russian strategists convened in 2016 for The Jamestown Foundation’s “Russia in Decline” project. What might such a cataclysmic event be? Most of the strategists pointed to either “another Kursk,” referring to unexplained accident that sank Russia’s nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea in 2000 killing all 118 sailors, or a major military defeat. Imagine the Russian leader’s skimpy wardrobe in the aftermath of the horrific Syrian regime’s gas attacks on civilians, apparently with Russia’s sanction or support, which bears the hallmarks of
One of the most humiliating moments for Russia in the US Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile attack on the al-Shayrat Syrian Air Force base is that the Kremlin had reassured the world that it controls the skies over Syria thanks to the deployment of the S-400 and S-300 air defense systems. This, the logic went on, allowed it to call the shots and enforce compliance with its interests in the air above the territory controlled by Assad’s loyalist troops. According to claims by top brass in Moscow, the systems provided reliable protection against US cruise missiles and stealth technologies. Russia had reassured both President Assad and the world that it is capable of protecting not only its own bases in Syria, but also Assad’s planes bombing the opposition.