The US is actively recruiting Islamists for terrorist attacks against Russia according to the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR). Undoubtedly, this is another demonstration of Washington’s consistent and persistent strategy of pressuring and provoking Russia.
“According to credible reports, special attention is being paid to attracting people from the Russian North Caucasus and Central Asia,” the statement says, adding that in January of this year, US intelligence agencies recruited 60 militants in Syria who, after training at the El Tanf base, will be sent to Russia and neighbouring friendly countries to carry out terrorist attacks.
“Particular emphasis is paid to planning attacks on heavily guarded facilities, including foreign diplomatic missions,” the SVR statement adds.
The statement also stressed that the US plans to send small groups of militants to Russia and other former Soviet nations that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
“Such actions put Washington on par with major international terrorist groups,” the SVR statement concludes.
The instrumentalization of jihadists is a constant theme of the American global strategic relationship towards Russia. Washington is fully aware that jihadism in Russia and its neighbourhood can be disruptive. Ever since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000, Russia has strengthened its security structures and found resolutions in the Islamic-majority Caucasus region. These actions significantly reduced Islamic terrorism that plagued Russia in the 1990’s and 2000’s despite American intelligence services supporting Caucasian terrorists.
It cannot be forgotten that the US instigated an Islamist uprising in Russia-allied Syria that eventually led to Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra and ISIS taking large swathes of territory and terrorising civilians for years. Given the failure to depose President Bashar al-Assad and Ukraine now being demilitarized at an unprecedented scale, Washington is seemingly so desperate to break Russian unity and bring terror to the civilian population that it is once again recruiting Islamic terrorism to serve its agenda.
Although Moscow disclosed the intentions of the US to once again weaponize jihadism, it was not revealed exactly how they plan to respond to this threat. It can be assumed that Russia’s intelligence and security system will act in a timely manner to prevent any incidences.
According to the head of the Eurasian Security Forum, Retired Serbian Major General Mitar Kovač, the overwhelming majority of Islam is opposed to American foreign policy.
“Many in the world appreciate that only five percent of Islamic countries or Muslims around the world are ready to follow US policy and be abused, while about 95 percent of countries or Muslim movements are on the side of sovereignty, the idea of sovereignty, and hence it is no wonder that most Muslim countries in the world today supports the Russian Federation’s fight against Western aggression and against its national interests in Eastern Europe,” Kovač said. He effectively highlights those jihadists, who mostly serve Washington’s interests, make up a small percentile of Muslims.
The utilization of jihadists come as the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, admitted that the alliance has depleted stocks of munitions. This comes at a time when the Russian Army is preparing, according to the NATO chief, to launch a fresh offensive. As Newsweek reported, the fighting has intensified ahead of the first anniversary of the war, “leading to Kyiv using ammunition at an unprecedented rate.”
For their part, the Financial Times reported that the Ukrainian military is firing more than 5,000 artillery rounds each day— “equal to a smaller European country’s orders in an entire year of peacetime. Russia meanwhile, is estimated to be firing four times that amount each day.”
“It is clear that we are in a race of logistics. Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield. Speed will save lives,” Stoltenberg said.
According to him, the new offensive has already started as Russian troops are closing in on the strategic town of Bakhmut in the Donbass region.
“We see how they are sending more troops, more weapons, more capabilities. The reality is that we are seeing the start [of a new offensive] already,” Stoltenberg said.
Although the expected major spring offensive has not yet started, as Stoltenberg claims, it is undeniable that Russia is amassing hundreds of thousands of troops and heavy equipment. Russia is anticipated to launch a new offensive once the snows has melted and the muds have dried.
With Ukraine experiencing manpower, ammunition and supply issues, the US hopes that jihadist attacks within Russia can alleviate some pressure. However, not only will the SVR keep on top of terrorist activities, Russia will not be deterred from completing the demilitarization of Ukraine and the full liberation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson.
From Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher