The U.S.A and Russia's 'fight against terror'... - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

The U.S.A and Russia's 'fight against terror'...

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in Russia yesterday, for the opening ceremony of the newly built Moscow Mosque in the capital city. Made by the Russian Muslims Religious Administration, the mosque's main sponsor was businessman Süleyman Kerimov and the interior costs were met by the Turkish Religious Affairs Administration and the Turkish Religious Foundation. The Muslims in the city desperately needed a large mosque, as on occasions of Eid thousands of Muslims had to resort to praying on the streets.

Today, 10,000 Muslims will be praying Eid prayer in the Moscow Central Mosque. The worry this picture will cause in Russia and Europe and the articles that will follow will not be surprising. It is estimated that 1.5 million Muslims live in the city of 12.5 million people. The total number of Muslims in Russia is estimated to be around 20 million; composing 15 percent of the 140-million populated country and the number of Muslims increasing by the day brings with it many questions, fear, panic, precautions and actions.

Russia's trial with Islam is rather old. Despite Russia giving the image that it embraces the growing Muslim population by building a mosque right in the center of the city, Russia's wars on the Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Dagestan in previous years were retaliated against with the apartment bombings in 1999, the attack on the Moscow theatre in 2002 and the Beslan hostage crisis in 2004. These incidents all being managed in a bloody way by the Russian Security Services and the mysteries never being solved still raise suspicions on whether the Russian Intelligence was behind all of this or not. On the other hand, Russia's active existence lately in Syria, reminds us of its past “war on terror” moves, and thus requires us to place it in the complex equation of the Middle East. As I write my article, President Erdoğan is expected to speak with the Russian Head of State, Putin, the main topics being the Syria crisis issue and the refugee problem.

The “War on Terror” expression gained popularity after the September 11 attack, and became the military campaign slogan during the Bush Government. In the 80s, the U.S. supported armed Islamist groups like the Taliban against the Soviets in Afghanistan and had an important role in the formation of Al- Qaida. With September 11, the U.S. found the organization it had bred at its doorstep. Since then, for Russia and the U.S., the game played on the energy reservoirs have changed and so has the form of “war on terror”. For example, the U.S. arming groups against Russia yet then receiving logistic support from Russia in the Afghanistan war is an indicator of this change and the redesigning of the sides. The Cold War is no longer the most important agenda topic; instead it has left its place for the “war on terror”. The great rivalry between Russia and the U.S. has decreased its dose and, instead, the two powers are sharing intelligence on the “mutual enemy” and are negotiating on out of the ordinary topics including energy.

Being appointed to the EU Ministry role in the caretaker government after the HDP deputy Ali Haydar Konca resigned from his duty, Beril Dedeoğlu, in her last article in the Star Newspaper, wrote about the subtle relationship between Russia and the U.S. in Syria: “Russia was going to exert its power on the natural gas line in the North of the Eurasia geography, while the U.S. exerted its power on the petrol lines in the South. Iran, Turkey, Israel and Egypt were to be the equalizers in this equation setup, the European countries were to support the U.S. and Russia was going to control Central Asia. Yet, some European countries weren't happy with this arrangement, thus the grounds of this tacit arrangement slid with the Ukrainian issue.”

Although the grounds of the arrangement slid with the Ukrainian issue, it seems that things are back in place after new rails were placed. Despite the U.S.'s theatrical statements recently, “We are concerned about Russia's existence in Syria” the U.S. and Russian Defense Ministers have started to communicate and have supposedly agreed on fighting against ISIL together; thus, the above can be regarded as an indicator that this arrangement is back on track. It is highly possible that this process was continued to be discussed behind closed doors despite slowing down. For example, it is certain that the Russian Intelligence Service, FSB's, director, Alexander Bortnikov, wasn't invited to the “Battling Extremism” conference by Obama only to listen.

The Al-Qaeda link of the Chechen Tamerlan-Cevher Tsarnaev brothers, who committed the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb attack, were investigated for a long time, yet could not be found. A new page of the “War against terror” was opened by Obama as the diameter of the unmanned aerial vehicles were widened after the Dagestan originating Kirgiz-American citizen Tsarnaev brothers organized the attack by themselves, despite being inspired by Al-Qaeda, just like other Jihadists were. The U.S. started to listen to Russia's methods and the FBI and FSB started sharing intelligence after this incident, until things slowed down, but didn't stop, after Edward Snowden brought out the NSA illegal wiretapping scandal.

Those who follow the Russian media can see that the FSB, who has intelligence and leading tactics that cause the CIA to turn green with envy , encourages Muslims in Chechnya and Dagestan which it sees as a threat to itself, to go and join ISIL by financially supporting them and removing obstacles on their way to Syria. ISIL is an excuse for Russia, just as it is for the U.S., who sends the potential jihadists (to clear all internal threats) it detects with its radars to Turkey by saying, “If you want to fight, you can go and do it in Syria”, and Assad is a puppet it needs for a while yet. Russia follows every step of these jihadists just like the Western countries do, yet does not notify Turkey of their departures and entries. We saw that this method was successful previously when the Gulf countries had sent off Arab fighters to join and pioneer the Al-Qaeda.

With half of it emptied out already, certain Sunni regions in Syria are being evacuated by Germany's command, and are being filled with potential terrorists that are then expected to join ISIL or other groups and fight against Russia and the U.S. Then, after the activation of these terrorists, this arena experiences air launches on the very same terrorists that were placed here. Will this subtle agreement between the U.S. and Russia continue, if a Republican candidate, for example Jeb Bush, wins the Presidency Election in 2016? This is one of the most important questions for the future of this region.

Happy Eid...


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