Propaganda is the most effective weapon that Da’esh has. Putin’s glorification at home, boosted by his latest incarnation as an international statesman and world leader, uses exactly the same tactic . Putin paints Russia as a victim that is now fighting back; Da’esh paints Islam in the same light, so that the intellectually vulnerable and the broadly ignorant accept this as a justification for action and a rallying call.
Putin is pursuing self-interest. In doing so, he is also supporting and increasing divisions within Islam. That will backfire and will increase support for radical Sunni groups. It will encourage Sunni fundamentalism across the world. However, it is ironic that some of the regimes Russia supports are Sunni-led. Russia supplies, backed by sweet deals and soft-loans, much of the military air-power for several Sunni-led governments who have traditionally been friendly with Russian-backed regimes such as Cuba. But those Sunni regimes are customers, not allies.
Assad undoubtedly sees Putin as a saviour. For everyone else, he is both a direct and an indirect threat.
Nigel Morris-Cotterill is author, The Ten Real Life Exploits That Da’esh / ISIS use to Hack The World.
© 2015 Nigel Morris-Cotterill
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