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Monday, April 22, 2024

The US has sacrificed a common anti-terror principle to stick it to Putin

Western officials were too quick to distribute blame for the Moscow attack in ways agreeable to their political goals

In the wake of the terrorist attack that killed over 140 people in Moscow, the White House is sure about a lot of things – that it had nothing to do with Ukraine, and that the fact that Washington’s intelligence-based prediction came to fruition is proof-positive that American counterterrorism efforts are working. Excuse me?

What just transpired in Moscow strikes me as the kind of thing that suggests it’s not actually working all that well, considering a bunch of people were killed. If the US has a long-standing policy of warning even countries that it’s at odds with – like Iran and Russia – of terrorist chatter that comes to its attention, like Russia has also done for the US in similar situations (the Boston Marathon bombing warning, perpetrated by Chechens, comes to mind), then frankly, it did a pretty poor job. 

Granted, the US Embassy issued a statement warning of a non-specific attack in Moscow two weeks before one actually occurred. And it coincided with Russia liquidating an ISIS-K cell consisting of two Kazakhs, claiming that they were targeting a synagogue southwest of Moscow. Nothing in the warning provided a description of suspects to the general public, and after the cell roll-up, it seemed like the case was closed, with no further warnings or clarifications from those in Washington who claimed to have the inside scoop. 

American and Western counterterrorism efforts are working so well that ISIS-K – an offshoot of the ISIS group in Syria to which some Western-backed ‘Syrian rebels’ defected with CIA and Pentagon training and weapons – happened to spring up in Afghanistan in 2014, under the watchful eye of the US counterterrorism operation. 

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Flowers and toys are seen left by the burnt-out Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, on March 25, 2024.
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Then the West became so caught up in its stick-measuring contest with Russia in Ukraine that it trained up a bunch of neo-Nazi mercenary fighters who are now integrated into the Ukrainian army, presided over by the likes of military intelligence chief and guerrilla warfare aficionado Kirill Budanov. Add to the West’s complicity in the recruitment of foreign fighters from all over the world to serve in the ‘International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine’ – including, apparently, fighters from Tajikistan, like the Moscow terrorists, if an unconfirmed online recruitment post by the Ukrainian Embassy in Tajikistan is any indication. In light of that alone, perhaps it’s time for Moscow to cancel its visa-free regime with Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries?

Looks like the US has done everything in Ukraine to sacrifice the fight against terrorism in order to stick it to Putin – who’s been America’s partner in fighting terrorists since he and former US President George W. Bush committed to cooperation against global terrorism in a joint statement after the September 11, 2001, attacks on American soil. French President Emmanuel Macron even said back in 2019 in an interview with The Economist that NATO was brain-dead and should pivot from its Russia obsession to a counterterrorism focus – which just happens to be something on which the West has successfully cooperated with Russia in the past. Although the latest example of ‘cooperation’ mostly involved the US going into Syria on the pretext of fighting ISIS, then spending much of its time in a failed attempt to oust President Bashar Assad by training and equipping jihadists from a NATO staging base in Türkiye. When all the trainees dined and dashed on the CIA and Pentagon’s tab to the tune of billions, it was Russia (with an intelligence assist from Iran) that handled the mop-up at the Syrian government’s request, eliciting the wrath of ISIS in the process. But ISIS in Syria failed in its effort to establish a caliphate and hasn’t really been a problem there for years. 

Unconfirmed reports and online videos are now emerging of the Moscow attack suspects allegedly training in NATO member state Türkiye for two months, and dozens of suspects recently being detained by the Turkish authorities in Istanbul. If confirmed to be true, it would not be unlike the Western-backed ‘Syrian rebel’ jihadists who trained on NATO’s Incirlik Air Base in Türkiye and were subsequently released into Syria. This is the same base that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan closed in the wake of a failed coup against him in 2016, and in which he implicated Washington. It looks like terrorists of all kinds now have another playground to choose from: Ukraine. 

White House spokesman John Kirby made a point of underscoring that Ukraine absolutely was not involved, as did his colleague, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “This was a terrorist attack that was conducted by ISIS. Mr. Putin understands that. He knows that very well. And look, there is absolutely no evidence that the government of Ukraine had anything to do with this attack,” Jean-Pierre said. That’s interesting wording coming from the same country whose officials told the New York Times that the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Europe was blown up by “pro-Ukrainian groups.” 

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Russian President Vladimir Putin lights a candle to commemorate victims of a terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue on the day of national mourning, in Russia.
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The language used by both the White House in the Moscow attack case and unnamed American officials commenting on the Nord Stream sabotage to the NYT is careful to absolve the Ukrainian state itself. It gives the impression that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky can’t be blamed for anything, although the opposite was argued by the West in an effort to oust Assad from power in Syria by saying that he had lost control of the country and turned it into a terrorist cesspool.

So in light of the Moscow attack perps making a run for the Ukrainian border where they were apprehended, about 400km from Moscow, the US is a bit too quick to absolve itself of any responsibility for turning Ukraine into a giant anti-Russian training camp for guerrilla wannabes run by fans of asymmetric warfare, and loading it up with training and weapons. It’s also a bit too keen to preemptively clear Ukraine of any responsibility whatsoever. 

French President Emmanuel Macron put the blame entirely on ISIS. Just so everyone got the message in France, the government hiked up the terrorism alert to maximum level. No one here really knows what that means because the terror alert has been in place nonstop for the better part of two decades now, to the point where the bright red on many of the terror alert signs in the front windows of public buildings has faded to bubblegum pink. 

Maybe if the French and their US and Western allies hadn’t been so busy destabilizing countries and turning them into terrorist Disneylands for regime change purposes, then maybe they could actually get a handle on the issue. Then they wouldn’t have to whine, like Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis did recently on Twitter: “Let’s not lose focus.” Because apparently, jihadism is just a minor speed bump on the regime change highway.

March 27, 2024 at 10:40PM
RT

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