ISIS vs. Russia?

 

Yesterday, CNN reported that US intelligence believes ISIS brought down Kogalymavia Flight 9268 — the Russian airline out of Egypt — with a bomb. This morning, the WSJ reports that the United Kingdom has come to the same conclusion and has grounded all flights out of Sharm El Sheikh, where the flight originated (there are thousands of Brits there currently on holiday). Several people on Ricochet have previously speculated that the plane was taken out by a bomb near its tail and the Islamic State has already claimed credit for this deed.

My question is this: what does it all mean? Is this the beginning of a broader campaign by ISIS against Russia? Will Chechnya once again explode in violence and terrorism? Will Russia become more involved against battling ISIS, at least to save face?

On a cynical note, I wonder if this is all a good sign. ISIS is striking Russia, which means they must fear them. Does that mean they’re going to ignore us? Can ISIS wage an effective terror campaign against the Russians and should we actually passively encourage it just to spite them? Or perhaps we can try to make common cause with the Russians against ISIS, using this terrorism as a pretext for joint action. After all, we must ensure the safety of intercontinental airline travel, an attack on one passenger plane is an attack on all passenger planes, etc., etc. I’m sure the irony of this would not be lost on the Russians.

So, is this the beginning of a concerted effort by Russia to eliminate ISIS, or just further proof that the world is spinning into chaos while Obama fiddles away on his global warming fiddle?

Published in Foreign Policy, Islamist Terrorism
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  1. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    I’m afraid you are viewing this through the lens of normal power politics on the international stage. ISIL did this, if true, because that flight had infidels on it and they managed to get a bomb on board, nothing more. This isn’t some grand strategy by ISIL to go after Russia because of Syria. And they certainly are not taking their eyes of the ball here, against us.

    More likely this was planned well in advance. Constructing the bomb, finding someone to get it on a plane, any plane, and then pulling off the operation takes time. Russia hasn’t been in Syria all that long so it is quite possible that this plan was conceived right as Russia began their Syrian operations. I don’t know since I don’t have the ISIL information handy. I would hardly say this is in response to Russia being in Syria though.

    Keep in mind this is not the first major event surrounding Sharm el Sheik either. I would just keep your eyes open in the open source. You will see the story develop, just have to know where to look.

    • #1
  2. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Robert McReynolds: Can ISIS wage an effective terror campaign against the Russians and should we actually passively encourage it just to spite the Russians?

    No.  Why?  Don’t you want the Russians to defeat ISIS??????

    • #2
  3. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Val,

    I don’t know the answer to any of your questions. However, to me this just reiterates my belief that the enemy is Jihad itself. At some point the threat to all will become evident. Whether it takes attacks on airliners, or it takes genocide, or it takes something nuclear in nature, we are going to be forced to face this.

    Regards,

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    It is just so very hard for me to conjure up some sympathy for the Russians.

    I know I should…. but these are the guys who shot down a civilian airline – and not very long ago, either.

    They want to mess around in the Middle East? It might be fun to see ISIS overrun their air base and seize the fighter planes. And it might even happen.

    • #4
  5. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    iWe:It is just so very hard for me to conjure up some sympathy for the Russians.

    I know I should…. but these are the guys who shot down a civilian airline – and not very long ago, either.

    They want to mess around in the Middle East? It might be fun to see ISIS overrun their air base and seize the fighter planes. And it might even happen.

    Why don’t we want the Russians to defeat ISIS again?  You know like we wanted them to defeat the Nazis?

    • #5
  6. MikeHs Inactive
    MikeHs
    @MikeHs

    iWe: It is just so very hard for me to conjure up some sympathy for the Russians.

    Most of the people on that plane were just regular people out for a vacation in the sun.  Check out the photos of some of the victims, as shown at the Daily Mail website, and you may change your mind.  These people weren’t the ones shooting down a civilian jet.  There were a lot of kids on board. I understand your point, but this should not have happened to anyone.

    Here’s a good link

    • #6
  7. Yeah...ok. Inactive
    Yeah...ok.
    @Yeahok

    Terror Title IX

    • #7
  8. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Manfred Arcane:

    Robert McReynolds: Can ISIS wage an effective terror campaign against the Russians and should we actually passively encourage it just to spite the Russians?

    No. Why? Don’t you want the Russians to defeat ISIS??????

    Well that is the question. Is it actually good for us if Russia is the one to do it? If all things were equal I would say yes, but all things are never equal. Is Russian victory over ISIS a loss for the US? Does it make us look weaker, more incompetent? Clearly our inability and unwillingness to exert our full force against ISIS has not helped us. If Russia goes in and does what we could not we look all the worse. On the other hand if Russia goes in gets sucked in an endless bloody quagmire, we look more prudent. If we then go in an save them we look stronger. That is my realist analysis of this. I guess if we fear ISIS more than Russia then also the Russians wining helps us. Personally I fear the Russians more. They challenge us and our allies on more fronts and in more ways. ISIS is the one enemy that we would have the least down side to open confrontation with, because no one likes them and in a military sense they are the weakest. So them softening up the Russians would help us, but then again ignoring them only makes them grow stronger.

    • #8
  9. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Manfred Arcane:

    iWe:It is just so very hard for me to conjure up some sympathy for the Russians.

    I know I should…. but these are the guys who shot down a civilian airline – and not very long ago, either.

    They want to mess around in the Middle East? It might be fun to see ISIS overrun their air base and seize the fighter planes. And it might even happen.

    Why don’t we want the Russians to defeat ISIS again? You know like we wanted them to defeat the Nazis?

    Well I would like to point out that the cost of wanting the Russians to defeat the Nazis was the Cold War and the enslavement of Eastern Europe. Maybe all things considered that was a good trade, given the circumstances, but we should not kid ourselves that the Soviets did us or the world a favor. What do the Russians gain and what do we lose if they take down ISIS?

    • #9
  10. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Valiuth:

    Manfred Arcane:

    iWe:It is just so very hard for me to conjure up some sympathy for the Russians.

    I know I should…. but these are the guys who shot down a civilian airline – and not very long ago, either.

    They want to mess around in the Middle East? It might be fun to see ISIS overrun their air base and seize the fighter planes. And it might even happen.

    Why don’t we want the Russians to defeat ISIS again? You know like we wanted them to defeat the Nazis?

    Well I would like to point out that the cost of wanting the Russians to defeat the Nazis was the Cold War and the enslavement of Eastern Europe. Maybe all things considered that was a good trade, given the circumstances, but we should not kid ourselves that the Soviets did us or the world a favor. What do the Russians gain and what do we lose if they take down ISIS?

    I don’t know why you are so paranoid about the Russians.  They have major jihadi problems back home that ISIS will aggravate.  Were our places reversed, we would probably be inclined to do as they are.  Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes for awhile.  Your average Russian doesn’t want to kill Americans or Westerners.  All ISIS and their like do.

    • #10
  11. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Manfred Arcane:

    Valiuth:

    Well I would like to point out that the cost of wanting the Russians to defeat the Nazis was the Cold War and the enslavement of Eastern Europe. Maybe all things considered that was a good trade, given the circumstances, but we should not kid ourselves that the Soviets did us or the world a favor. What do the Russians gain and what do we lose if they take down ISIS?

    I don’t know why you are so paranoid about the Russians. They have major jihadi problems back home that ISIS will aggravate. Were our places reversed, we would probably be inclined to do as they are. Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes for awhile. Your average Russian doesn’t want to kill Americans or Westerners. All ISIS and their like do.

    Manfred, I’m sorry but have you not been paying attention to what is happening in the world outside of Syria and Iraq. The Russians have their hands in a lot of places and in none of them are they a force for good or stability. Yes, the Russians have their concerns about Jihadist, but they have other concerns too, ones I dare say are probably more important to them than ISIS. Concerns that intersect with our own.

    If Russia had not just invade and annexed parts of Ukraine, if they weren’t a backer of the Iran regime and the Assad regime, I would be less paranoid about them.

    • #11
  12. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering how Russia fits into ISIS’s ideology and history. I mean, these are people who still refer to Istanbul as the Second Rome and Russia sometimes styles itself the third.

    • #12
  13. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering how Russia fits into ISIS’s ideology and history. I mean, these are people who still refer to Istanbul Constantinople as the Second Rome and Russia sometimes styles itself the third.

    Fixed that for ya.

    • #13
  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.”

    • #14
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The best we can hope for from Washington is to do absolutely nothing until there’s a new President.  Everything this guy does just makes things worse.

    • #15
  16. Fred Cole Inactive
    Fred Cole
    @FredCole

    You’re jumping ahead.

    ISIS involvement (and not ISIS proper, but the local Sinai affiliate) is far from certain at this time. It’s basically speculative and there isn’t actual evidence of a bomb yet and any claims of credit don’t fit the normal and very specific pattern of how they do it.

    I’m not saying they’re involved, I’m not saying they’re not involved. But it’s too early to start with the speculation based on the idea that maybe somebody blew up this airliner. We just don’t have enough evidence yet.

    • #16
  17. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Valiuth:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Valiuth:

    I don’t know why you are so paranoid about the Russians. They have major jihadi problems back home that ISIS will aggravate. Were our places reversed, we would probably be inclined to do as they are. Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes for awhile. Your average Russian doesn’t want to kill Americans or Westerners. All ISIS and their like do.

    Manfred, I’m sorry but have you not been paying attention to what is happening in the world outside of Syria and Iraq. The Russians have their hands in a lot of places and in none of them are they a force for good or stability. Yes, the Russians have their concerns about Jihadist, but they have other concerns too, ones I dare say are probably more important to them than ISIS. Concerns that intersect with our own.

    If Russia had not just invade and annexed parts of Ukraine, if they weren’t a backer of the Iran regime and the Assad regime, I would be less paranoid about them.

    This is the kind of comment that ruins Ricochet for me.  So knee-jerk anti-Russian.  You never ever consider the world from the Russians’ point of view.  Had Mexico started toying with the idea of joining the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, how do you think we would have reacted?  Similarly indicting the Russians for not toeing the line with the US in all things foreign affairs is just so ….

    • #17
  18. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering how Russia fits into ISIS’s ideology and history. I mean, these are people who still refer to Istanbul as the Second Rome and Russia sometimes styles itself the third.

    Not understanding this rumination.  Who refers to Istanbul as the Second Rome?  And Russia considered itself as the new protector of Christianity after Constantinople fell, but so what?  Are you wondering whether ISIS might feel a special animus towards Russia as a result?

    • #18
  19. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    Manfred Arcane:

    Valiuth:

    Manfred Arcane:

    Valiuth:

    I don’t know why you are so paranoid about the Russians. They have major jihadi problems back home that ISIS will aggravate. Were our places reversed, we would probably be inclined to do as they are. Maybe try and put yourself in their shoes for awhile. Your average Russian doesn’t want to kill Americans or Westerners. All ISIS and their like do.

    Manfred, I’m sorry but have you not been paying attention to what is happening in the world outside of Syria and Iraq. The Russians have their hands in a lot of places and in none of them are they a force for good or stability. Yes, the Russians have their concerns about Jihadist, but they have other concerns too, ones I dare say are probably more important to them than ISIS. Concerns that intersect with our own.

    If Russia had not just invade and annexed parts of Ukraine, if they weren’t a backer of the Iran regime and the Assad regime, I would be less paranoid about them.

    This is the kind of comment that ruins Ricochet for me. So knee-jerk anti-Russian. You never ever consider the world from the Russians’ point of view. Had Mexico started toying with the idea of joining the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, how do you think we would have reacted? Similarly indicting the Russians for not toeing the line with the US in all things foreign affairs is just so ….

    This is just a stupid response, and comparison that is a red herring.  One we are not in the cold war anymore and we are not threatening to invade Russia like the USSR wanting to invade additional free societies. Ukrainian and Russia signed a peace treaty in which the Ukrainian agreed to give up the nukes it inherited when it broke off from Russia, in Turn Russia would respect is territorial sovereignty and not attack it.

    When the U.S./Europe along with the UN cut off their own balls and let Russia get away it we pissed away any future agreement of any nation being willing to give up Nukes in exchange for the world powers to protect that nations.

    You don’t realize how dangerous of a precedent this has set.  This once again proves the diplomats especially in Western nations are a bunch a two timing back stabbing snakes that are bigger enemies to free societies than any terrorist organization is.

    • #19
  20. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Valiuth: My question is this: what does it all mean? Is this the beginning of a broader campaign by ISIS against Russia? Will Chechnya once again explode in violence and terrorism? Will Russia become more involved against battling ISIS, at least to save face?

    Valiuth: So, is this the beginning of a concerted effort by Russia to eliminate ISIS, or just further proof that the world is spinning into chaos while Obama fiddles away on his global warming fiddle?

    Due time.  All the rest is just opinion and a rush to speculation.

    What is clear is this – Russia has joined the US in the middle of this mess now.  They are on the side of the Russian puppet Syrian government; we are more or less on the side of the Kurds for lack of an alternative.  Both of us are the enemy for most of the rest.  Both of us have few friends willing to do very much – which raises the questions you posed about where this goes.

    If you ask these questions and have no clear, factual answers, then maybe “fiddling” is the best approach?

    • #20
  21. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Here is my bold statement and prediction.

    Statement: It does not matter whether ISIS brought the plane down.

    The enduring result of the plane crash is that Russians are going to be less interested in vacationing in the region, which means the “national interest” in being there is reduced. And any Russian involvement is going to be much more carefully considered. No longer is this just a game to make Obama look stupid, or an easy way to expand Russia’s sphere of influence. Lives have been lost, so the sheen is off.

    Prediction: Either the Russians effectively withdraw, or they go all-in. In the latter case, Putin will be destroyed; that kind of involvement is too much for Russia to handle, both militarily and financially.

    • #21
  22. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Manfred Arcane:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering how Russia fits into ISIS’s ideology and history. I mean, these are people who still refer to Istanbul as the Second Rome and Russia sometimes styles itself the third.

    Not understanding this rumination. Who refers to Istanbul as the Second Rome? And Russia considered itself as the new protector of Christianity after Constantinople fell, but so what? Are you wondering whether ISIS might feel a special animus towards Russia as a result?

    Conquering Istanbul is a specific and highly coveted goal of ISIS and plays directly into their escatology; from what I gather, this is more related to its former status as Constantinople than as the Ottoman capital. Rmember, these guys are nuts.

    Given Russia’s claims to be Constaninople’s successor — and the Russian Orthodox Church’s similar claims regarding its status relative to the Eastern church* — I wonder if they have it out for the Russians in a religious, prophetic way.

    * James of England is welcome and encouraged to correct me on the matter.

    • #22
  23. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    Valiuth:… while Obama fiddles away on his global warming fiddle?

    I don’t have any answers, but I thought this a very apt image.

    • #23
  24. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Brian Clendinen: This is just a stupid response, and comparison that is a red herring.

    Dear Brian – Manfred disagrees with you.  He is anything but stupid.

    Thank you for your passion.  But let’s just agree to let a few things slide so we can disagree without impugning intellect.

    I like all of you .  And I appreciate you tolerating my stupidity.

    “Tell him on the contrary that he needs, in the interest of his own happiness, to walk in the path of humility and self-control.”Irving Babbitt, conservative humanist.

    • #24
  25. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Manfred Arcane:This is the kind of comment that ruins Ricochet for me. So knee-jerk anti-Russian. You never ever consider the world from the Russians’ point of view. Had Mexico started toying with the idea of joining the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, how do you think we would have reacted? Similarly indicting the Russians for not toeing the line with the US in all things foreign affairs is just so ….

    I think I rather do consider the world from their point of view, and I find their point of view wrong. I know why they are doing the things they are doing, but why should that make me sympathies with them any more. In fact it makes me loath them all the more. This Russian regime is not some benign liberal humanist entity with good intentions. It is an imperialistic autocratic kleptocracy that serves as an apologist for tyranny and all the worlds worst regimes.

    • #25
  26. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    Valiuth: I think I rather do consider the world from their point of view, and I find their point of view wrong. I know why they are doing the things they are doing, but why should that make me sympathies with them any more. In fact it makes me loath them all the more. This Russian regime is not some benign liberal humanist entity with good intentions. It is an imperialistic autocratic kleptocracy that serves as an apologist for tyranny and all the worlds worst regimes.

    We don’t like the regime either.

    But what is the best approach as a conservative?  Engage, send troops, get deeply involved in a shifting situation?   Until we know more or have a clear pathway, just shooting up the joint, may do more harm than good.  Since WWII every time we reacted, we incrementalized and wound up in strange wars that lacked political support.

    Conservatives used to be against war as bad for citizens, freedom, the middle class, the economy . . .  that is why it should be hard to commence.  We now have the residue of the Cold War which gives us unmatched military power, debt burdened economic power, and temptation to pull the trigger sometimes out of frustration.  Let’s just sit back a little and appraise this situation.

    Russia is on center stage – they are the fly-paper for the jihadists at the moment.  Let it unfold a little and keep a lower profile while poking (ISIS, AQ, and Russia) where we can.

    • #26
  27. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    James Madison: What worries me is that while I don’t know the answers to all the questions I pose it seems like our leaders should. In fact their actions will be the answers to some of my questions. I am not filled with a lot of confidence that our leaders are paying close attention and committing themselves to this problem on any level. It may be wise to sit back and observe the situation, but it seems to me that we have failed to come to any kind of decision on this despite having observed it for nearly five years now. We tinker at the edges and things just spiral more and more out of control.

    Do you really think Obama is carefully waiting to for the right opening to unleash some great plan? Are we just waiting for this to become so bad we have to act? If the latter what are we doing to prepare for that? Nothing it seem to me.

    • #27
  28. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Russia is flush with allies in Syria -Iran, Hezbollah, Syrian military, and Russia has formed some kind of alliance with Iraq (Russian generals in Iraq personally delivering warnings to the U.S. consulate).

    Russia’s actions are not about embarrassing Obama, Obama does that very well with minimal assistance from Putin or other bad actors. To understand Russia’s ultimate interest in the middle east, look at the map.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    James Gawron:Val,

    I don’t know the answer to any of your questions. However, to me this just reiterates my belief that the enemy is Jihad itself. At some point the threat to all will become evident. Whether it takes attacks on airliners, or it takes genocide, or it takes something nuclear in nature, we are going to be forced to face this.

    Regards,

    Respectfully, I think you are being too kind limiting your definition to Jihad.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I think it plays to our advantage for Russia to get distracted and over extended spending blood and treasure in the ISIS swamp.

    • #30
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