Russia to team up with Asian allies in fight with Islamic State – security chief
In an interview given soon after a recent working visit to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Patrushev said Russia shared the universal concern over the spread of Islamist terrorism and planned to step up the work with Shanghai Cooperation Organization partners China and India in countering this evil.
“The Russian position over this issue remains unchanged. Dividing terrorists into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ones is unacceptable. The struggle against this evil must be conducted strictly in accordance with the norms of international law and decisions of the UN Security Council,” Patrushev told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
“We receive confirmations of the fact that the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is making contacts with terrorists in Russia’s North Caucasus. We will bear this in mind when we make the decisions aimed at strengthening Russia’s security and protection of its borders,” he noted. Additionally, the growth of the territories occupied by the IS in Libya caused particular concern, as well as the start of mass executions in that country.
Patrushev also told reporters that he and other Russian officials preferred to use the term ‘Islamic State’ in quotation marks to avoid insults to true Muslims who, in his view, had no relation to terrorists and extremists. For the same reason he called to refer to the IS by its original name – the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, or ISIL.
He also promised to coordinate the additional steps in fighting against the ISIL threat with Russia’s partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (the Eurasian military-political bloc uniting China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan).
At the same time, Patrushev noted that the current surge of anti-Russian propaganda in the West was not contributing to the international community’s common effort in fighting terrorism.
In late February this year, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Aleksandr Bortnikov, told reporters that the professional cooperation between special services must continue despite the strained relations between nations. He also expressed hope that the current period of complicated relations between Russia and the United States will eventually end.
The top security official said that Russia was also interested in cooperation with the United States in the common fight against the IS. He added that the existing exchange of intelligence data was already helping to achieve a positive result in this direction.