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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Update: July 8, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Kadyrov Says West Created ISIS to Alienate Muslims, Though Russia Exploits Regional Fears of Terrorism

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov believes that the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) was created by the West to associate the religion of Islam with shocking brutalities, TASS reports.

Kadyrov spoke at a meeting of law-enforcers, district heads and clergy in Grozny yesterday, July 7.

All of ISIS' actions, from beheadings to forcing children to take part in murder are aimed at driving people away from Islam, he said (translation by The Interpreter):

What can you say about them if they force 12-year-old children to shoot people, if they state that they have a right to 9-year-old girls captured as prisoners -- they call them trophies. Not only Muslims, but even an atheist is not capable of such baseness.
These people are zombified, they are trained especially to such brutal crimes...Special Western institutions work with these satans, which sponsor them, prompting them to the most provocative moves. All of this is done so that Islam is associated with brutality and outrage. Their policy is aimed at repelling as many people as possible from the religion of Islam.

"The Chechen Republic's dynamic development provokes a particular dislike in Western ill-wishers," he added.

On his Instagram account yesterday July 7, Kadyrov further raged against the US:

Almost 30 years ago, Osama bin Laden, Abdulla Azam and representatives of the so-called "Egyptian Islamic Jihad" created Al Qaeda. Today, practically no one doubts that the CIA and the USA leadership stood behind this. The main backbone of Al Qaeda was created by Afghan fighters who were financed by the CIA. Under the guise of the fight with Al Qaeda, Americans bombed Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Islamic states. Thousands of innocent civilians died. But Al Qaeda, fulfilling the assignment of the USA, also destroyed Muslims.
The American War Academy concluded that in five years alone, starting with 2004, about 90% of those who died at the hand of Al Qaeda fighters are Muslims, out of the total number of their victims, although the leaders of the organization claim that they are fighting Western countries. In that time, more than 80% of the total number of victims were Iraqis.

Today, the Iblis State [ISIS, "Iblis" is the Devil in Islam -- The Interpreter], created by the same Western intelligence agencies, is killing tens of thousands of Muslims. Everyone knows that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is also fed by the USA CIA, and was recruited by Gen. David Petraeus during al-Baghdadi's time as a POW in Camp Bucca in Iraq. I urge young people in all Islamic countries to open their eyes, to not succumb to the propaganda of Iblis, and not become part of the machine of destruction of Muslims! Let Almighty Allah correct the wayward!

Kadyrov reiterates Soviet and later Russian propaganda about these events, and with his complete control of the media in his republic, there is no one to challenge him.

Scholars discount the notion that bin Laden, a Saudi citizen, was "created" or even aided by the CIA. The Soviet invasion in 1979 ultimately led to the killing of one million Afghan civilians and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. US aid to the mujaheddin later in the war was one factor in turning the tide of the conflict, but so were tens of thousands of zinc coffins of Soviet soldiers returning to the motherland, and increasing coverage of the brutalities of the war cautiously permitted in some Soviet state media.

In analyzing the US invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Al Qaeda after the terrorist attack of 9/11, the Russians usually leave out the context of their own occupation for a decade before that, and fail to explain why despite their claimed repeated sightings of bin Laden in Chechnya, they were unable to capture him. They also fail to explain that according to UNAMA, 85% of the civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan currently are caused by the Taliban and their allies; the majority of civilian deaths in the Iraqi war are also caused by militants and terrorists.

Meanwhile Paul Goble, a syndicated columnist for The Interpreter, has a post at's blog on Russia and Eurasia which probes deeper beyond Kadyrov's facile anti-Western rhetoric. On the one hand, Russia bemoans the fact that 1,700 of its citizens, mainly from the North Caucasus, have gone to join ISIS, and the pro-Kremlin media is filled with lurid tales of Russian girls who have run away to become ISIS fighters' brides.

Yet on the other hand, the West's preoccupation with ISIS and frustrations in ending its reign of terror are an opportunity for Moscow: now it can tell countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus that they had better rally round the Kremlin to protect themselves against this common threat. As Goble writes:

If Moscow succeeds in using the Islamic State threat to restore some of its dominance over these countries, it will indicate, at a minimum, that the Russian authorities are cleverly making use of IS attacks in the Middle East and Europe while assuring everyone that no such attacks are imminent in Russia. And it may indicate that the Russian security services are playing a role in structuring IS operations, at least with regard to the post-Soviet space (see EDM, June 30). But regardless of which of these interpretations is correct, it points to the ugly possibility that the Kremlin plans to use the threat of terrorism to achieve its goals across the post-Soviet space just as Vladimir Putin has done within the Russian Federation itself.

According to Vasily Papava, who identifies himself as “an independent Georgian journalist,” Tbilisi has become more worried about the IS threat to its national security since leaders of the Islamic State declared that they had founded a new administrative unit in the North Caucasus and leaders of Islamic fighters in that region declared their loyalty to it. Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze, the chief of the Georgian General Staff, and Tina Khidasheli, the country’s defense minister, both said that IS was now a threat that Tbilisi would work to counter. At the same time, however, Khidasheli said that Russia should be more focused on this threat in the North Caucasus than in assuming it has a right to intervene in neighboring countries on whatever pretext (, July 1).

Jamestown Foundation Blog: Will Threat of Islamic State Push Georgia Closer to Russia?

As it has done in Central Asia, Moscow is urging Georgia and other countries in the South Caucasus to return to closer cooperation with Russia in order to counter the threat from the Islamic State (IS).

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Jul 08, 2015 22:18 (GMT)

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick