Europe Needs Russia 'On Board' to Combat Extremism

© AFP 2022 / Fadi al-HalabiFighters from the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syria branch, hold a position as they fight against forces loyal to the regime
Fighters from the Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syria branch, hold a position as they fight against forces loyal to the regime - Sputnik International
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Retired British Rear Admiral Chris Parry called the lack of Russia-NATO cooperation “unfortunate” in light of the shared threat from terrorist groups.

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WASHINGTON(Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Europe needs Russian cooperation to counter the shared threat of Islamic extremism, retired British Rear Admiral Chris Parry told Sputnik on Monday.

“At a time where everybody is having to deal with the threat from Islam, we need Russia on board very much,” Parry said.

The traditional channels for cooperation between Russia and Europe through NATO have collapsed following the western response to the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014, and Russian suspicions over continued NATO expansion.

The lack of Russia-NATO cooperation is “unfortunate” in light of the shared threat from terrorist groups like the Islamic State, Parry noted.

He described the challenges arising from Islamic extremism as “real threats” as opposed to threats from Russia “that have built up in the political mind.”

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The United States and the West have formed a 60-nation alliance to combat the Islamic State forces, with regional allies among the Persian Gulf states. Russia is not formally part of the alliance, but the State Department has repeatedly emphasized Russia’s importance in combating extremism.

Following the July 2015 Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Ufa, Russia and Central Asian allies initiated discussions to address the spread of extremism, including in the North Caucasus.

In the past month, Russia has advanced plans to cooperate with Iran, Syria, and Turkey, key players on the ground combating Islamic State.

Rear Admiral Parry served in the British Navy for more than three decades and currently runs his own strategic forecasting firm in the United Kingdom.

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