MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - The suggestion that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) militants' murder of a Scot was aimed at weakening UK's image ahead of the Scottish referendum on self-determination is a "very far-fetched theory," a Co-Director at Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS) told RIA-Novosti Thursday.
"It's a theory, but a very far-fetched theory. I don't believe ISIS is following the Scottish referendum, and the Scottish connect here is purely coincidental. The two are very different issues," Julian Richards told RIA Novosti.
A colleague of Julian Richards, UK's intelligence analyst and professor, Anthony Glees, said earlier this month he was convinced ISIS used the opportunity to fuel anti-English sentiment among Scottish voters ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence by beheading David Haines, 44, a Scottish aid worker. The radical group released a video on Saturday showing Haines' murder by an IS militant who was speaking with an English accent.
However, it seems highly unlikely that the IS have planned the beheading to have an effect on the vote.
"It is complete nonsense, there is no link between Scotland and ISIS whatsoever. I don't think ISIS even knows where Scotland is," Professor of Politics at the University of Aberdeen and Director of ESRC Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change Michael Keating said.
In Keating's view, neither the IS group, nor other international factors can put pressure on the voters. The professor also does not expect a change in the resistance of the UK and Scotland to international threats after the referendum.
"Even if they separate, Scotland and the UK will remain NATO members," he said.
The only security issue the countries will have to face, in the case of a Yes vote, is that of nuclear weapons, which are currently placed in Scotland, Keaton said. Then, the UK will have to decide whether to claim the arsenal or let the Scots send it to the United States.
If, however, Scotland votes No, it is unlikely to return to the question of its independence in a long time, Keating said.
"People in Scotland may not have the energy to go through that again, not for a long time," he said, adding that the No vote would still keep the question on the table, because the "broader discontent with the UK political system is growing."
Some 4.29 million people aged 16 or above, or 97 percent of Scotland's potential voters, have registered to participate in the independence referendum.
Scotland will proclaim independence from the United Kingdom on March 24, 2016, if 51 percent or more of those who come to the referendum vote "Yes".