Skip to main content

Moscow backs fight against IS … to an extent

Russia is expressing cautious solidarity with the United States in fighting the Islamic State, while continuing its unequivocal support of the Syrian government.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addresses a meeting of the United Nations Security Council 
at the 69th U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS)   - RTR47KZB

Judging from recent statements by Russian officials, Moscow has decided to express cautious solidarity with Washington”s actions to fight against the terrorists of the Islamic State (IS), though there is no talk of any joint effort. Russia supported the latest UN Security Council resolution on the fight against terrorism. Yet, Moscow also continues to see the negative implications of the actions of the coalition led by the United States, bearing in mind that military force alone cannot defeat terrorism. Among those negative aspects is the prospect of an increase in terrorist recruits among those disgruntled with a new intervention by the West. The inevitable “collateral damage” among the civilian population will contribute to this.

Let me cite in this regard Daniel Serwer: “The airstrikes may be creating ungoverned spaces in which we have no means to prevent radicalization and haven for international terrorists.” Terrorist leaders are using the Internet to spread a lot of material, ominously predicting the defeat of the coalition that leads the fight against IS. They maintain that there is no way to defeat them with airstrikes. Addressing President Barack Obama, Sheikh Abu Muhammad ash-Shami asked: 'Have you not realized … that the battle cannot be decided from the air at all? Or do you think that you are smarter than Bush?'”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.