Most of the world was shocked when massive amounts of Russian forces and equipment started showing up in Syria in September of 2015. This followed Russia’s bold annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine and also their backing of a pro-Russian revolution movement in Eastern Ukraine. Many people thought this was just another bold political move on Russia’s part to show up the west and continue to reassert themselves as the world power they are. If you stop and take a look a little closer at Russia’s history, you will see that they have been fighting predominately Muslim separatist movements and the subsequent radical terrorist attacks that were spawned from these movements far longer than the USA has.
Unfortunately for Russia, they do not have friendly neighbors on their borders like the USA does. They have thousands of miles of borders that are shared with predominately Islamist countries that do not always share the same political and religious philosophies as the Russians and there has always been the potential for conflict that has arises from this.
Many people do not realize that Russia partially went to war in Afghanistan in support of the communist government there because they did not want the extreme form of Islamic government that was trying to unseat the communists taking hold there. One of the biggest hot spots in Russia as far as Islamist separatist movements are concerned has been in the North Caucus Region of Chechnya. It is a conflict that actually dates back hundreds of years and has recently boiled over in conflicts several times.
Stalin’s distrust of the Chechens was so high that he accused them of conspiring with the Nazi’s in WWII and had a majority of them deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan for the duration of the war and even longer. Only after his death were the Chechens allowed to return home. Tens of thousands of Chechens died as a direct result of Stalin’s actions and the subsequent harsh treatment they received during their deportation.
Things in Chechnya boiled over again in the early 90’s when they tried to follow suit with many breakaway regions and declare independence after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Two wars have been fought in the region since then and Moscow has endured many terrorist attacks at the hands of Chechen born terrorists.
Why Syria now? You only have to look at ISIS for the answer to that – as they have a large contingent of Chechens fighting for them. Russia fears that if ISIS establishes a caliphate that is stable in Syria and Iraq, that these radical extremists will soon once again bring the fight back to Chechnya.
Russia is even worried about Afghanistan spiraling out of control again and spreading the extreme Islamist form of religious government and radicalism back towards their southern border. They currently have thousands of troops stationed on the Afghan border as a deterrent for northward expansion of religious extremism.
Russia’s neighbors to the south such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have been having many internal conflicts between the governments there and Islamist extremists who want religious rule followed there. Tajikistan is thought to be extremely vulnerable to an Islamist government type takeover.
The threat of a second front of Jihad reaching Russia’s borders is very real and it means that Russia has a huge interest in seeing ISIS squashed out in Iraq and Syria before many of ISIS’s seasoned Central Asian fighters return home.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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