At the UN General Assembly meeting today, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for the rise of radical Islamic groups. He also demanded a global alliance to fight these groups.
“It seems, however, that far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them,” he stated. “And so the export of revolutions, this time so-called ‘democratic’ ones, continues. Suffice it to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Certainly, political and social problems in this region have been piling up for long time. And people there wish for changes.”
He continued: “But how did it really turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a flagrant destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty, and a social disaster. And nobody cares about human rights, including the right to life.”
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, prompting by protests against President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. also backed the overthrow of dictators in Iraq and Libya, the latter of which received praise from President Barack Obama in front of the assembly. In Libya, extremists attacked and murdered four Americans in 2012, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: do you realize now what you have done?” said Putin, adding:
But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit, and belief in one’s exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned. It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa led to emergence of anarchy areas. Those immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.
Those groups, including the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and Nusra Front, developed after the Syrian civil war began. ISIS now controls a large portion of Syria and Iraq. However, Putin failed to note that the majority of ISIS fighters from non-Middle East countries are from Russia.
“A total of 405 people, according to our data, have left Chechnya to join the fighting in Syria on the side of the Islamic State since the beginning of the war in that region,” said a spokesman at the Russian Interior Ministry in June. “Among those, 104 have been killed and 44 came back, while the fate of the rest is unknown.”
While leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rarely appears in public, the terrorist group uses the likeness of military leader Omar al-Shishani, a Chechen, all over its propaganda. ISIS featured him in a video last August from one of its children training centers, with children showing off their military skills for al-Shishani.
Putin was one of the first to jump to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s defense. He also insisted the world must back Assad in order to demolish the radical Islamic group.
“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face,” he said. “We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and Kurd militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.”
The Russian government has continuously tried to convince others to join Assad to fight against ISIS. Saudi Arabia and Turkey were the largest countries to turn down Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s proposals over the summer. This did not stop Putin from pushing his UN colleagues to form a global alliance.
“Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are willing to resolutely resist those who just like the Nazis sow evil and hatred of humankind,” claimed Putin.