Syrian crisis rapidly spreads and can affect the Caucasus
Last week, the New York Times, citing unnamed sources in Washington issued a statement that Russia sent to Syria several anti-ship cruise missiles of a new modification. It is about supersonic missiles "Yakhont" with advanced guidance systems, which make the weapon more effective, allowing the Syrian authorities in case of need to push the western fleet from its coast. The supplies to Syria of Russian air defense systems S-300, about which rumors have been spread earlier, would make the possibility of establishing an air blockade of Syrian territory. In Moscow, they say that they did not enter into any new contracts with Syria but perform all the old contracts relating to air defense.
Meanwhile, both Moscow and the West understand that the deterioration of the situation in Syria would destabilize the situation not only in the Middle East, but also in the neighboring regions, including the Caucasus.
As Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, told VK, “a major influence of the Syrian crisis and its further development will be felt, and is already felt, on the situation in the Middle East. Still in relation to Syria, the Caucasian states are in the third row of separation from Syria, and I don't see any direct consequences. But indirect effects, if the Syrian crisis will lead to the fall of the current government and the transformation of Syria into a new node of instability and a terrorist training ground, and it is going in this direction, because the forces that strive for power in Syria, they go under fundamentalist slogans, indirect the consequences may occur. After all, the instability in the region, it is quite obvious, is spreading in waves, i.e. there is a source of instability and, rather than suppress it, they expand it. Different forces acting in their own interests expand this source of instability, and it begins to grow into the surrounding states. The Syrian crisis has certainly affected southern Turkey, it had to. It affects Lebanon, which has a huge number of Syrian refugees, it affects Jordan, where there are 150,000 Syrian refugees. And I repeat, if this crisis is not checked, limited to the territory of Syria, and gradually overcome, then I am sure that terrorism and fundamentalism will be exported, and the various groupings will fight for power”.
Pushkov does not exclude that “terrorism can come to those states where it never existed previously. So I would not want the states of the southern Caucasus to become involved in this terrorist activity, but it could happen. Because total destabilization leads to a situation where some people, especially with the funding of certain fundamentalist groups that are growing by leaps and bounds, on oil and gas in a number of Arab states, may have an idea, but why not try to support extremist tendencies in a particular country in the region, say, in Azerbaijan. I think that's what is dangerous about the Syrian crisis - it can, like cancer, metastasise into other countries. We have already seen how fundamentalists actually exported militant groups from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, there were two attempts to assassinate Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, there were explosions in Tashkent, and that had never been the case there. This was done by people who came from outside, found some support in Uzbekistan, and began to act. That is the danger”.
Speaking about the US-Russian relations, namely, about the Boston attack in this regard, Pushkov said: “The Americans seriously underestimated our warning. The FBI acted on the assumption that the Russians mistreat some Chechens, accusing them of being involved in terrorist activities, for political reasons. Russia was against the separation of Chechnya, Russia fought against separatists and terrorists, and now she warns that all Chechens could pose a threat. By the way, Russia has never warned that all Chechens could pose a threat. But some can, because we know that the leaders of the Chechen separatists and terrorists, a number of them, found refuge in countries outside the Russian Federation, in a number of Arab countries. And some Chechens were involved in international terrorism, which is active. Here, the main principle is not nationality, the main principle is a certain attitude to Islam and jihad. The point here is not whether the Tsarnaev brothers were Chechens or not. The point here is that they, most probably influenced by someone or on their own, got some enthusiastic ideas of jihad, ideas that some U.S. citizens are enthusiastic about. It seems to me that America is turning a blind eye to this, it pretends that all is well in America. No, far from it. And the fact that Russia has warned that there are Chechens in this international terrorism, who are capable of committing a terrorist act, I think, the Americans underestimated this. And now, they have paid a price for this”.