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Russia's FSB Includes Islamic State On 'Unified List' Of Terror Groups


Russia increasingly perceives Islamic State as posing a domestic terror threat to the Russian Federation.

Russia increasingly perceives Islamic State as posing a domestic terror threat to the Russian Federation.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has included the Islamic State (IS) group to a unified list of terrorist organizations.

The list, published on the FSB's website on February 27, contains 22 groups and is titled A Unified List of Organizations, Including Foreign and International Organizations That Have Been Recognized As Terrorist [Groups] By Russian Law.

The inclusion of the Islamic State group on the list comes after the Russian Supreme Court ruled in December to designate the extremist organization as a terrorist group. That move was the first step in what has emerged as a wider attempt by the Russian authorities to crack down on the Islamic State group, which Moscow increasingly perceives as posing a domestic terror threat to the Russian Federation. That threat stems both from the fear of blowback from Russian nationals who return to Russia after fighting with the militants in Syria or Iraq, and from concerns that IS propaganda could radicalize individuals in Russia.

The Supreme Court's decision to designate the IS group as a terror organization allows the Russian authorities to prosecute Russian nationals who are involved with the Islamic State group on Russian soil, as well as those who return from fighting with the militants in Syria and Iraq.

Signs of the crackdown on the Islamic State group's activities in Russia were evident this week, with media reports that a man, possibly from Tajikistan, was arrested in Moscow on suspicion of creating pro-IS propaganda online.

On February 25, a Moscow court ruled to ban the distribution of an Islamic State propaganda video, Flames of War, in response to a petition by the Moscow prosecutor's office.

In addition to the Islamic State group, the FSB listed a number of other international organizations on its unified terror list. These include groups that are or were active in Syria, such as Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and a group named Jund al-Sham, which was founded in Jordan in 1991 and fought in Syria until March 2014 when it retreated to Lebanon.

Other non-Russian groups on the list include the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; Egyptian Islamic Jihad (an Egyptian Islamic group that has been banned by the United Nations as an affiliate of Al-Qaeda; Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (an Egyptian Sunni Islamist movement considered a terror group by the United States and EU); the Muslim Brotherhood; and the Taliban.

The list also includes groups that are active in the Russian Federation, specifically in the North Caucasus. The largest of these is the Caucasus Emirate group, which also has an affiliate in Syria, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA).

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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