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MOSCOW, July 01./ITAR-TASS/. Proclamation of the Islamic caliphate in territories seized by radicals in Syria and Iraq not only redraws Middle East borders but also poses a threat of terrorism escalating worldwide, president of Russia's Institute of Religion and Politics Alexander Ignatenko told ITAR-TASS.
The Sunni religious sect's Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS), announcing the caliphate, has called on all world jihadists to swear allegiance.
ISIS has already been joined by Iraqi Sunnis dissatisfied with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s policy alongside military men from the former army of Saddam Hussein and petty terrorist groups. Iraq and Syria governments are trying to halt ISIS advancing to take control over a vast territory rich in oil.
The Wahhabi army marched from Syria's border, approached Baghdad and dispersed Iraq’s 200,000 government forces on its way. The US was forced to return to Iraq 275 military personnel to guard the embassy or evacuate staff in the event of military disaster.
A headline statement came from Washington: A Department of State official preferring to remain anonymous confirmed the US had discussed co-operation with Iran on the Iraq crisis.
“The Islamic caliphate will have an absolutely destructive effect on the entire Middle East. The map will inevitably transform as expansion is the caliphate’s chief goal,” said Ignatenko, a member of the Presidential Council on Co-operation with Religious Organisations.
Besides Syrian and Iraqi territories, the caliphate will claim territories in Lebanon, Jordan and a significant part of Iran where Sunnis live. Numerous Shia communities in the Near and Middle East will not twiddle their thumbs observing caliphate activities, Ignatenko predicts.
“With no less eagerness, they will set about realising their Shia Crescent project , suggestng a confederation comprising parts of states with a dense Shia population. These are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Pakistan and most probably Iran,” he said.
Being the leader of world Shiism, Iran will use levers to confront Sunni expansion, the expert said. Eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia rich in hydrocarbons are already populated with pro-Iranian Shias.
“Saudi Arabia sponsors the Sunni Islamic caliphate. I think we shall soon see a Shia rebellion in Saudi Arabia’s eastern provinces, which will break up the kingdom,” Ignatenko said.
The caliphate’s threat to the world is that this project is not restricted to the Middle East. “Militant jihadists plan to include into the caliphate all former Islamic territories, in particular Spanish Andalusia, Italian Sicily, Russian Siberia, not to mention the Caucasus,” the expert said.
“On the map spread by Islamists, almost the entire world is inked with black - the colour of the jihadist flag. ISIS even states Muslims had discovered and explored America before Columbus,” said the scientist.
Proclamation of the caliphate is a grave threat to a US that mujahideen describe as their arch enemy. “Caliphate money is already in circulation in Iran, and 100-pound banknote portraits of Osama bin Laden against the background of the Twin Towers blowing up in New York,” Ignatenko said.
In a Baghdad-ISIS confrontation, Moscow will join Iran to support Iraq and prevent Middle East extremism from spilling over globally, the expert added. Iraq's army had already received Russian SU-25 fighter-bombers and expects delivery of combat helicopters.
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