NEW YORK, July 4 (RIA Novosti) – With an ethnic Chechen Omar Shishani coming to the spotlight in ISIS’s activities in Iraq, analysts say Chechen war was an attempt by the Western countries to destabilize Russia through the Caucasus.
With his trademark red-beard and frequent appearances on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) promotional videos, Omar Shishani colorfully spotlights the many Chechen fighters to have answered jihad’s call in Syria and Iraq.
“The Chechen war was a classic attempt by the US and Britain to destabilize Russia through the Caucasus. It was fomented from the outside by NATO. In Ukraine, we saw some of the Kiev fascists were the same as those who went to Chechnya to fight Russia,” Webster Tarpley, a historian and author of “Obama: The Postmodern Coup” told RIA Novosti.
Shishani, whose real name is Tarkhan Batirashvili, is an ethnic Chechen from Georgia who reportedly fought against Russia in the 2007-08 Georgia-Russia war and whose military career took him to an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militia in Syria.
Chechen fighters probably established links with Western spy agencies during the conflicts with Russia and are now advancing Western interests in the Middle East, Tarpley claimed.
“Now, Chechen militants are turning up in Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Chechen terror groups have a long history of working in cooperation with NATO interests, now they are doing so in the Middle East,” the expert said.
Syria’s three-year-old civil war has attracted as many as 10,000 foreign combatants from various countries. It is not known how many hail from Chechnya, but Chechens are considered battle-hardened by successive bouts of combat against Russia in the 1990s.
Tarpley and other analysts are suspicious of US goals in Iraq. They suggest that ISIS and other Sunni Islamist groups receive back-door funding from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf petro-monarchies with tacit approval from Washington.
In recent weeks, ISIS has launched an offensive from Syrian territories it has gained during the country’s civil war, taking swathes of northern and western Iraq and declaring the creation of an Islamic caliphate across the region.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Iraq or Syria, Sudan or Somalia, the US policy everywhere has been to create divisions,” Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, an anti-war pressure group, told RIA Novosti.
“Washington typically favors one group over another, switches sides and creates enormous internal destabilization. It’s a conscious policy of divide and conquer. It’s a policy of empire and has nothing to do with democracy, elections or stable government.”
According to Tarpley, fighters like Shishani who join Islamist militias, are vulnerable men who are susceptible to hardline ideologues with connections to Saudi money and US espionage outfits, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
“These people are coming from 75 or 80 different countries to fight in Syria,” Tarpley told RIA Novosti.
“These are young men with no job prospects who are preyed on by demagogic, apocalyptic preachers who convince them to take up arms. These preachers are part of bigger organizations with a funding apparatus from Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf, with weaponry, transportation and logistics. If you want to stop the Sunni militias, deliver an ultimatum to the Gulf countries to stop their support,” the expert added.