Counter-Terrorism Fight of Russia and the West: A United Front or a New Apple of Discord?

Another seminar of the Discussion Club “European Dialogues” (Director of scientific programs Dr. Nadezda Arbatova) was held on October 26, 2015. The topic of the seminar was: “Counter-Terrorism Fight of Russia and the West: A United Front or a New Apple of Discord?
Presentations were made by:
- Prof. Georgy Mirsky, Chief Researcher of IMEMO
- Academician Alexey Arbatov, Head of the Center of International Security of IMEMO.
Scientists of IMEMO and invited guests of the Institute took part in the discussion.

In his report, Prof. G. Mirsky gave a profound analyze of the social, political and military situation in Syria after the beginning of the Russian military operation. According to his view, the most important result of Russian actions was that the ISIL militants had failed to sieze Damascus. If it had happened this inevitably could have led to a sharp deterioration of the situation in the entire Middle East with undesirable consequences for everyone including the United States.  According to Mirsky, in the USA there’s the prevailing view that Assad is a “lesser evil” that is why the question of his removal is “postponed”. However, the report emphasized the Assad inability to fight the Islamists, and pointed out to the need to coordinate Russia and United States actions in the settlement of the Syrian conflict.

Alexey Arbatov elaborated on the international political aspects of the situation in Syria. According to his opinion it’s too early to say that the Russian military operation has reduced the terrorist threat. It is rather a Russian attempt to escape from international isolation by demonstrating power opportunities. 

It was accentuated that Russian attempt is supported by unprecedented in scale information campaign. According to Alexey Arbatov the current situation in the Middle East is fundamentally different from the times of the cold war, primarily because there is virtually no risk of military confrontation between Russia and the United States and even there was no mention about their nuclear weapons.

In Arbatov opinion, the possibilities of cooperation between Russia and the United States in Syria have slightly improved, but in general they are seriously limited by problems around Ukraine, the lack of transparency in political decision-making in Russia, pre-election situation in the United States and many other factors.


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