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Islamic State’s expansion turning into global threat number one

May 27, 2015, 20:14 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© AP Photo Archive/Militant Website

MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. A wide-ranking expansion of the Islamic State (ISIS) that has seized a sizable part of Iraq and Syria is turning into a threat for the entire Middle East and, on top of it, for the whole world since this movement has an international composition, TASS was told by Dr. Alexander Ignatenko, the president of the Institute for Religion and Politics and a member of the presidential Council for Communications with Religious Associations.

In May, ISIS that has about 30,000 militants in its ranks stepped up its offensive operations, seizing the antique city of Palmyra in Syria and the big city of Ramadi in Iraq. The US and Iraqi authorities have made reciprocal charges against each other with insufficient struggle against the movement. Moscow is assisting Iraq and Syria by supplies of weaponry.

President Vladimir Putin stressed the dangers of ISIS expansion as he met on Tuesday with the chiefs of security councils of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

"ISIS continues drawing ever more new Mojaheds to its ranks and promoting itself as a state of strong social justice for all the Moslems regardless of racial and ethnic identity," Dr. Ignatenko said. "People hailing from the EU, Japan, Russia, Central Asia, Africa, and even Australia and New Zealand are seeking materialization of a dream about heaven on earth in ISIS’ ranks."

"A graphic instance of this is found in a motion by ISIS propaganda gurus who uploaded a photo of a Chinese family of 150 members who joined the organization’s ranks," he went on. "That’s a result of the active propaganda campaign, which the Isis recruitment centers like Sharia for America or Sharia for Germany or others are conducting throughout the world."

"The objective of this centers is to convert young people to Islam, to forward them for combat training to Afghanistan, and then to relocate them to the territories controlled by ISIS," Dr. Ignatenko said.

"The recruitment centers’ efforts reach out not only to the potential combatants but also to physicians, computer specialist, engineers, as well as to Caucasian-looking women and teenagers who are then trained as future terrorists at specialized schools," he said.

"ISIS gets the bulk of its finance from the oil wells it has seized in Iraq and Syria, or rather, from the illegal sales of crude oil at a price equivalent of one-fifth of the global price," Dr. Ignatenko went on.

This oil is then purchased by some unscrupulous businesspeople in Turkey and Jordan and paradoxically enough - by the Syrian authorities, as the Bashar al-Assad regime does not have any other sources where to get fuel for its tanks and aircraft delivering fire at the positions of the very same Isis.

"The US is trying to plug the channels by which oil is flowing to ISIS," he said. "Reports said recently, for instance, the Americans had managed to kill the mastermind of that trade with the aid of a drone. But this I just a drop of water in an ocean."

The expert mentioned the availability of other sources of financing, like outright robbery. Take the story of Mosul in Iraq, upon seizing which the extremists got access to cash from banks in the amount of half a billion US dollars.

In addition, ISIS is getting funds from the outside. In one of the documented instances, Qatar remitted $300 million as aid to ISIS via a Swiss foundation.

"The movement has thrown around its affiliations in all parts of the world and they’re awaiting the Z-hour to start mobilization," Dr. Ignatenko said.

The Russian leadership sees the danger and fights with it fruitfully enough. Elimination of the ISIS militants, who have returned home, is underway in northern Caucasus. Joint struggle with the threats posed by ISIS in Central Asia is coordinated by the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

"This means construction of a long sanitary cordon along the perimeter of Russia’s southern borders is in progress," Dr. Ignatenko said.

As for the EU, it has let the problem slip through its fingers. "As it is preparing for a military operation in the Mediterranean to destroy the ships carrying illegal immigrants and possible terrorists from the Middle East and northern Africa, the EU is in essence trying to squeeze minced stuffing back into the mincer, since there is no raising the upper hand over ISIS if separate countries undertake disunited efforts," the expert said.

He said the only way to wage this struggle is by pooling the efforts of the entire international community. The situation does not confine to the use of armed methods only and require a skillful combination of military, political and diplomatic measures, he said.

TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors