10:00 GMT21 January 2021
Listen Live
    Middle East
    Get short URL
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

    Russia has enough geopolitical and military resources to defeat Islamic extremists in Syria. If ISIL is crushed, then it will facilitate peace-building throughout the entire Middle East, according to Andrei Sushentsov, a political scientist from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

    With its precision airstrikes, Russia has caught ISIL flat-footed, surprising Western intelligence agencies and military analysts by its ability to get maximum results with minimum effort, Sushentsov said.

    Furthermore, Russia's airstrikes in Syria have shown the effectiveness of its weapons and communications equipment. Partially, it's because Russia wants to show everyone, including Middle Eastern countries, the market value of its arms to attract future buyers for the Russian arms industry.

    But most importantly, by carrying out a successful military campaign in Syria, Russia showed the world that it can be totally independent when it comes to waging wars in the 21st Century, the political analyst explained.

    "Russia asserted itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Middle East, a nation able to conduct effective expeditionary military operations. Until now, only the United States showed it could relocate its troops so far from national borders… By launching cruise missiles at ISIL positions from ships in the Caspian Sea, Russia has firmly showed its force in the region," Sushentsov said.

    Russia Has Two Strategies to Fight ISIL

    In essence, the fight against ISIL in Syria is an issue of Russian national security. The presence of militants hailing from the North Caucasus and Central Asia among ISIL means that Russia might soon face an increasing number of well-trained terrorists crossing into Russian territory. That's why Moscow understands that from a strategic point of view it's much better to defeat ISIL militants in the Middle East than fight them on its own soil several years down the road, the political scientist explained.

    Russia might have two strategies in Syria. The first one will be limited in time, scale and require from Russia a minimum amount of resources. Under this strategy, Russia will focus on wiping out ISIL infrastructure without attempting to get rid of all individual terrorists running around the Syrian Desert. However, this means eventually terrorists could come back and once again pose a threat to the Syrian government and the international community.

    Moscow is interested in having the government of Bashar al-Assad in power for Syria to remain Russia's ally. With al-Assad in Syria, Russia can expand its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea and work on selling gas to Israel and Cyprus via Syrian territory.

    That's why Russia has a second strategy which is to wipe ISIL completely off the face of the Earth. This strategy is a lot harder and its objectives are harder to achieve. To pull it off, Russia will have to work closely with Syria, Iran and Iraq and avoid the infiltration of extremists into its own territory.

    If Russia manages to completely destroy ISIL it will be an "incredible achievement" that will facilitate peace-building in the Middle East and make Syria and Iran faithful allies of Moscow. Peace will finally come into the lives of millions of Syrians and Iraqis and the refugee crisis in Europe will begin to subside.

    It would be much better if the entire international community would come together in the fight against ISIL; however, even without the participation of Western nations, Russia can manage to defeat the terrorist group, Sushentsov concluded.

    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)


    CSTO Thwarts 50,000 ISIL Recruitment Websites in Central Asia
    Is ISIL Going to Enter Central Asia?
    Russian Jets Hit 63 ISIL Targets in Syria's Hama, Latakia, Idlib, Raqqa
    Shock and Awe: Russian Cruise Missile Strike on ISIL Caught US Flat-Footed
    Daesh, Russian airlines, military strategy, islamic extremism, Syrian crisis, Andrei Sushentsov, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion