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Thu Sep 12, 2013, 02:30 PM

The Hidden Fear in Putin's New York Times Op-Ed

Putin’s focus on the extremist elements among the rebels touches on a major reservation the U.S. has had about intervening in Syria—that in the aftermath of a potential Assad ouster, “people we don’t like will take power,” as one expert told me recently.

But the fear of radical jihadists is also extremely potent in Russia, and it’s one of the many reasons Putin has so firmly opposed toppling the Assad regime. For years Russia has been battling Chechen separatists, many of whom identify as Islamist. Already, linkages between Syria and Chechnya have been growing—groups of Chechens have joined the fight against Assad alongside the Syrian opposition.

After it became clear that the Boston bombers were Chechen Muslims, Russia flung a bit of an I-told-you-so at the United States, which has at times supported the Chechens:

“Russia has long cautioned Washington about giving asylum to Islamists from the North Caucasus,” Voice of Russia political analyst Dmitry Babich told Russia Today. “They think that they have the right to ascertain their convictions, they have the right to commit violent acts if they feed their cause ... That's their thinking and I'm afraid in Boston they are dealing with exactly that kind of thinking.”


http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/the-hidden-fear-in-putins-em-new-york-times-em-op-ed/279610/

Well I am glad one of the targets got it. And they are not going on and on about eeeevvviiillll Putin either. Indeed one of the many layers, which I did go into in the piece I sent to the paper.

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Reply The Hidden Fear in Putin's New York Times Op-Ed (Original post)
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 OP
2naSalit Sep 2013 #1
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #2
kentuck Sep 2013 #3
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #4
Pretzel_Warrior Sep 2013 #5
pampango Sep 2013 #6
nadinbrzezinski Sep 2013 #7

Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 03:39 PM

1. A truly

appropriate point. I think the screamer-exceptionalism-of-our-nation crowd won't take this point well either.

I'll offer the initial count down for the "flame on" to commence... 3... 2... 1...

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 03:43 PM

2. It is one I raised in the editorial piece I sent

To the paper. But I am glad the adults are getting it.

The USA crowd are no more than the children interrupting adult conversation at this point.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 03:46 PM

3. Thanks for putting it into perspective.

There are some deep thinkers on DU.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 03:49 PM

4. While I went into that aspect into the editorial

I submitted last night, this is The Atlantic.

Here are the other aspects I covered here

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023650514

Yes, it received the usual knee jerk from usual quarters

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 03:49 PM

5. Please share with us what you wrote to the paper

 

I am curious. I hope you aren't listening to Iggy Pop when I post this.

This Atlantic article does a great job of showing what a hypocritical and face-challenged person old Mr. put in is as he appeals to Americans to keep Obama and our military from acting against Assad regime.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 04:03 PM

6. Perhaps Assad played Medvedev and Putin back in 2011 when this began.

Many wondered why Assad always insisted that everyone who opposed him was a thug and a terrorist. At the beginning this was obviously not true.

The Syrian revolution and civil war did not begin as primarily sectarian. It is to some extent a class struggle. ... The big protests in 2011 originated in the slums around the cities in the center of the country, where young men who had moved there for work from the countryside found themselves locked into long-term unemployment. ... Because the upper ranks of the ruling Baath Party are disproportionately dominated by the Alawite minority, and because so many discontented youth in the cities of the center are Sunni, the conflict took on a sectarian tinge. But its underpinnings are economic.

Some 60% of Syrians are Sunni Arabs, i.e., adherents of the Sunni branch of Islam who speak Arabic as their mother tongue. Sunni Arabs also predominate in Jordan and Egypt. Large numbers of Syrian Sunnis are secularists, either nationalists or leftists, and not very observant. Many Syrian Sunnis still follow the tolerant, mystical Sufi form of Islam. Others have come under Saudi influence and are known as Salafis, but this is just a euphemism for Wahhabis, members of the intolerant and rigid form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. A very small number of Sunnis have affiliated with al-Qaeda, but they have had the important battlefield victories in the north.

http://www.juancole.com/2013/09/americans-theyre-threaten.html

As many have observed the longer this conflict has gone on the more radicalized the opposition has become. It was not thus when the uprising began.

Perhaps Assad played on Russian fears of radical jihadists and portrayed everyone who opposed him as such to make sure that the Russians backed him without question.

Of course, the irony is that by backing Assad with an unending supply of weapons and diplomatic protection in the UN, Russia finds more danger from jihadists in Syria today than there was 2 1/2 years ago.

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Response to pampango (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 04:26 PM

7. There is some truth to that

The other truism of international relations is at play here. It is always best to deal with the thug you know than the one that might replace him.

And from the Russians point of view, Assad is a client, in a client state, and the only remaining foothold in the ME.

It is byzantine, but not that hard to follow if you are willing to put in the work.

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