Libmonster ID: KZ-2233
Author(s) of the publication: E. M. PRIMAKOV


Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Islamic State, Sunni radicals, Ba'athist officers, Syria, Iraq, USA

I consider the very existence and tendency to expand of the Islamic State (IS) group with the original name "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" to be a real threat in modern conditions. This is a fusion of different currents, each of which for the time being did not represent a large-scale danger.

It is generally assumed that the basis of the IG was Sunni radicals from the Iraqi "triangle". They were joined by Ba'athist officers who created a number of underground organizations after the American occupation of Iraq. This has increased the fighting capacity of the Islamic State, although relations with the former Baathists, whose worldview does not fully coincide with the ideology of the IS, are not determined for the future.

IS detachments, consisting of the most rabid terrorists who painted themselves in religious colors, rushed to Syria, taking a leading position among the opposition to the Alawite government of Bashar al-Assad. In Syria, they have recruited new supporters. Having built up its muscle, the Islamic State unexpectedly launched an offensive in Iraq, where it took control of a significant part of the country in a matter of days.

This whole chain of expansion and victorious march of the Islamic State was largely the result of the policy of the United States, which intervened in Iraq, and the result of the policy pursued by the American occupation authorities. The US intervention plunged Iraq into chaos, completely unbalanced the situation in this country, where bloody clashes began between representatives of the two main trends in Islam - Shiites and Sunnis.

The struggle between Saddam Hussein's mainly Sunni minority and the Shiites continued even before the American occupation of Iraq. But the clashes between them, which sometimes took harsh forms, were not based on religious contradictions. In any case, there were no almost weekly bombings in mosques, as is currently the case. The sharpness of the current bloody Sunni-Shiite clashes in Iraq was given a pronounced US bet on supporting Shiites in ousting Sunnis from power structures. It was at this time that the center of gravity shifted to religious contradictions - this fact is difficult for apologists of US policy to refute.

It is also impossible to justify the fact that the short-sighted, to put it mildly, policy of the United States contributed to arming the very radical terrorists who then turned their weapons against the United States. It would seem that on a cursory examination, there was no crime in the fact that the US occupation authorities spent a lot of money on arming Sunni tribal self-defense units, trying to use them to oust Al-Qaeda from the Sunni "triangle" in Iraq.

However, after promising members of these tribal organizations a number of posts in the Iraqi regular army, the United States, without going out of line with its pro-Shiite position in Iraq, agreed with former Prime Minister Maliki that it was inappropriate to allow Sunnis into the officer corps of the Iraqi army.

An even more negative role was played by Washington's full support for the forces waging an armed struggle to overthrow the existing regime in Syria. Talk that the US and its allies were arming another, more moderate group, the Free Syrian Army, rather than ISIS, is completely groundless. With unlimited support for the opposition forces in Syria, the United States could not, and did not want to, create a buffer between IS and the rest.

This is the logic of the American position: to solve their own tasks that are contrary to the interests of other countries, without thinking about tomorrow. What this logic led to can also be seen in the example of Afghanistan, where the United States, as you know, supported and helped Al-Qaeda terrorists who fought in this country against the Soviet army.

Another important detail: the disbalancing of the situation in Iraq, which IS took advantage of, was facilitated by the lustration of members who no longer existed after the overthrow of Saddam

This article is one of the sections of the new book by E. M. Primakov "Russia, Hopes and Anxieties" (Moscow, Tsentrpoligraf, 2015, 223 p).

page 2

Hussein of the Ba'ath Party. The newly formed Iraqi army and special services, starting from scratch, turned out to be completely incapacitated, which was clearly manifested in the days of the flight of the Iraqi army, which surrendered almost all positions to the IS militants. By the way, at the same time, the militants acquired weapons abandoned by the army - armored personnel carriers, tanks, guns and other means of warfare, also provided by the United States and its allies at one time.

What exactly is the danger of the Islamic State movement? Having established itself as a victorious force, IS has become a magnet for a number of extremist Islamic organizations. This group is turning into a global center of irreconcilable Islamic radicals.

The number of militants is rapidly increasing, including due to the addition of Islamic "jihadists" from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, America and Australia. Many fighters from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaeda, have joined IS as a "winning team". This creates a dangerous reshuffle of forces waging armed operations against the Government in Damascus.

According to the CIA, in just three months after the Islamic State claimed control of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and other territories, the number of Islamic State fighters tripled, exceeding 30,000.

The IG group, having taken control of the oil-producing and refining area of Mosul, has become financially self-sufficient. Oil is sold to Turkish, Jordanian, Syrian and other shady traders who are not deterred by shouts from Washington.

The ideological platform of the IG-the creation of a caliphate in all territories with a Muslim population-has many supporters. However, a number of Arab countries have joined the states that have declared their readiness to counteract the IS group. So not everything is clear in the Arab world.

The US has launched air strikes against IS forces in Iraq. This was followed by strikes on Syrian territory without the participation of the government in Damascus or a UN Security Council resolution.

This not only contradicts the norms of international law, but also raises concerns that the" bombing "of the Damascus regime may have begun" under the guise", bypassing the UN Security Council.

In general, the situation is quite serious, and it undoubtedly requires the unity of states, first of all permanent members of the UN Security Council, in the fight against the IS group. No disagreements, including on the "Ukrainian issue," should interfere with the fight against international terrorism, but precisely against international terrorism, and not with those whom the United States proclaims as terrorists in its own interests or in the interests of its allies.

At the same time, the" Islamic State", especially strengthened, is a danger for the countries of Central Asia, and for Russia, where, unfortunately, there are still people who advocate the creation of a caliphate in the territories inhabited by Muslims. Of course, in such circumstances, it becomes necessary, despite disagreeing with many aspects of the policy of the United States and its allies, to seek cooperation with all forces opposing the IG.


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E. M. PRIMAKOV, THE ISLAMIC STATE IS A REAL DANGER // Astana: Digital Library of Kazakhstan (BIBLIO.KZ). Updated: 21.11.2023. URL: (date of access: 05.03.2024).

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