Russia's Other War on IS

IS Afghanistan

Russia's Other War on IS

Hanna Notte
St Antony's College, University of Oxford

While its recent partial withdrawal from Syria reignited debates about Russia's seriousness in fighting IS, reports about Moscow stepping up its efforts to fight that terrorist group in Central Asia and the North Caucasus have gone largely unnoticed. Russia launched large-scale military exercises with Tajikistan, as well as a new round of counterterrorism operations in the restive republic of Dagestan. Already one day before President Putin's surprising about-face regarding the Syria operation, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated in an interview on Russian TV that IS, having been somewhat contained in Syria, will likely further strengthen in Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, necessitating an international response. Of course, no one should expect Russia to soon become active in militarily fighting IS across all these geographical theatres; instead, Moscow will focus resources in its 'war on terror' predominantly on two regions close to home - the Afghan-Tajik border area and the North Caucasus.

To read the pull piece, visit: http://russiancouncil.ru/en/blogs/digest/?id_4=2405