Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tracking Islamic State

Russia's Chief Of Staff: U.S. Provided Financial, Technical Aid To IS

Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov (left) talks to an unidentified officer in Moscow in May 23.
Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov (left) talks to an unidentified officer in Moscow in May 23.

Russia's chief of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, said on December 10 that the United States had provided financial and technical assistance to the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria in the past.

Speaking at a meeting of foreign military attaches Gerasimov set out Russia's position on a variety of issues relating to international security, including the situation in Syria and Iraq.

Gerasimov painted a picture of the rise of the Islamic State group against a backdrop of what he said was Western interference in the region. He blamed the United States and "leading Western countries" for causing "disastrous consequences" in a number of countries, including Libya and Syria, by involving themselves in what he called "the overthrow of the legitimate authorities" in those states.

The Russian chief of General Staff said that Washington and its European allies had stepped up their efforts for regime change in Syria by "increasing foreign aid to armed opposition groups, [and] increasing international political and media pressure on the Syrian leadership."

Just as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has done, Gerasimov made no distinction between the Islamic State group and Syrian armed opposition groups including the Free Syrian Army. Moscow's position throughout the conflict has been that all of the armed opposition groups in Syria are illegal terror groups. Via this position, Russia -- which is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest ally -- has strongly opposed efforts by the United States and its allies to back moderate Free Syrian Army factions.

Referencing this position, Gerasimov said that there were "up to 70,000 militants of various nationalities" fighting with Islamic State and added that: "It is noteworthy that previously it was the United States that provided financial and technical assistance to this group in its fight against the Syrian government."

Noting that Washington and its allies were conducting air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, Gerasimov implied that this was not enough to defeat the group.

"At the same time, White House statements have arisen [saying] that it is only possible to render a significant blow to this terrorist group with the help of a ground operation," he said.

Gerasimov also noted that the Islamic State group posed a regional threat, saying it had become "in essence a key element of radical Islam in the Middle East and has a tendency toward further growth."

The Russian chief of General Staff's comments come a day after Lavrov accused the West of "demonizing" Assad, including by "ignor[ing] the Syrian authorities in the fight against Islamic State."

Moscow has been making a diplomatic push for renewed "intra-Syrian" peace talks and has backed calls by the UN's special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, for a "freeze zone" in Aleppo whereby fighting would cease to allow humanitarian aid deliveries. This plan has been fiercely opposed by Syrian moderate and Islamist rebel groups, who believe that a limited cease-fire in Aleppo would amount to a win for the Syrian government.

Meanwhile, Syrian government forces have been making a push to retake Aleppo, with Turkish military sources claiming that Assad's forces are apparently trying to push those left in the city toward Turkey.

-- Joanna Paraszczuk

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: june weathers from: washington
December 10, 2014 17:14
a really nice story I love unicorns

by: MrSatyre from: USA
December 10, 2014 17:21
The Russians are so predictable. They make the spinning of obfuscation and lies an art form. They will never be respected so long as they continue to do so. Only feared.
In Response

by: Antikapitalista from: Middle-earth
December 13, 2014 00:23
Never mistake your own ignorance for a wise man's disingenousness!

by: Jack from: US
December 10, 2014 20:59
Russians are saying what everyone knows already: US government and its NATO minions armed and financed so-called "moderate" Syrian rebels who later turned out to be ISIS. US government did exactly the same thing as they did in Afghanistan, where they armed and financed Muslim "freedom fighters" against Soviets, and then those "freedom fighters" turned out to be Al Qaeda and Taliban. US government and its minions have been and are the major sponsors of Muslim terrorism, for decades.
In Response

by: Azim from: Chechnya
December 12, 2014 16:26
Another post uninhibited by intellectual rigor. Yawn ... Hey Jack leave the basement and get some sunlight once in a while you miserable troll. Man you must have gotten burned pretty bad to be in such a frame of mind. What happened buddy? Wife eloped with a Muslim? I mean really... Get over it already. You can't score a polemical point by bringing in irrelevant factoids and hurling asinine accusations.
In Response

by: Antikapitalista from: Middle-earth
December 13, 2014 00:14
Hey, you miserable troll, please do realize that this is not like in the mental hospital where you have been detained for the better part of your life and where you have been able to score a point by re-telling a first-person narrative about being raped by Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov's bear... :-P

by: jojnjo from: Dublin
December 11, 2014 16:14
Why would America fund IS in return for IS to attack them even more?

US may have funded Syrian Free Army who are not IS...they (Russia) lie as if there's no tomorrow, but there is & another one after that for them to be shown up as serial liars.

Now I'm going to listen to my favourite song, "Fairytale of New York"...maybe I should change those lyrics to "Fairytale of Moscow" because they are...living in a "Fairytale"!. Aren't yous, Vladimir?!
In Response

by: Antikapitalista from: Middle-earth
December 13, 2014 00:05
Then why did the United States of Aggression arm and fund the Taliban (through Pakistan's ISI) and Osama bin Laden...?!

Because this has always been the policy of the United States of Aggression. They did it in Libya and the U.S. ambassador went up in a puff of smoke, literally.

The United States of Aggression did arm and fund the so-called "Free Syrian Army", but its fighters were inferior to the jihadists, so they handed their weapons to them, as they were "a more superior fighting force", as they put it.

U.S. newspapers (namely: New York Times; and possibly others) ran articles about it, you had better learn to watch the world around you more.

Furthermore, the United States of Aggression did it in order to create chaos in Syria, but in erupted into a major regional conflict and spread into its neighbourhood along ethnic lines, and it quickly got out of the U.S. devils. The extremists spread into Iraq, took even more U.S. weaponry and formed the so-called Islamic State.

"Do not shoot the messenger"; likewise, do not blame Russia for telling the essence of the truth—blame the government of the United States of Aggression for peddling their lies and keeping you in the dark about them.
In Response

by: jojnjo from: Dublin
December 14, 2014 03:23
Who ever you are in the Middle Earth? Will you come up to the flat earth & stop listening down there to propagandist Russian drivel. You know with your head in the gravel you'll never see the reality of things as they are and as for Russia telling the essence of the truth...well from where I am I only can smell/hear their lies!

by: Elliot
December 12, 2014 18:12
Assad is a demon.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2014 01:01
Demons are in north america
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2014 16:33
There are demons everywhere. But Assad is one of the worst.

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2014 00:58
nothing of new -
look at weapons in the hands of IS
and you understand from where they are .
US , the falling of a dream , the american dream is down

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2014 01:08
it seems that all these Americans
really are reluctant to take note that their system of government
absolutely isn't at all reliable
Do you want to talk about international espionage against Western allies governments
or about torture?

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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