The Ukraine-ISIS Alliance
Back in February, The Intercept was the first media outlet to reveal clear linkages between ISIS and Ukraine. The article by Marcin Mamon begins by recounting how the leader of the Islamic State's underground branch in Istanbul was headed to Ukraine to join other members of ISIS in fighting those from Eastern Ukraine that want further autonomy from Kiev and a likely political alliance with Moscow.
Immediately we have a problem. It is unlikely that many average citizens in the West are aware that ISIS is fighting on the side of the Ukraine nationalists. If they were, public opinion might drastically shift towards support for Russia -- as it should. Better to have Ukraine be a proxy state of Russia than yet another budding member of the global Islamic Caliphate taking shape.
Any arguments that ISIS is helping Ukrainian nationalists fight the Russian backed separatists out of the goodness of its heart, and that ISIS will just pack up and leave Ukraine if a victory is won, strain all measures of credulity. If the Russian separatists lose in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine may very well be on the path to falling under control -- at least partially -- of ISIS, placing ISIS with a state under its control on the borders of several NATO members. Did the West possibly back the wrong horse in Ukraine? Should we instead have supported Russia?
Kiev has become an important access point for ISIS terrorists into Western Europe:
Ukraine is now becoming an important stop-off point for the brothers, like Ruslan. In Ukraine, you can buy a passport and a new identity. For $15,000, a fighter receives a new name and a legal document attesting to Ukrainian citizenship. Ukraine doesn't belong to the European Union, but it's an easy pathway for immigration to the West. Ukrainians have few difficulties obtaining visas to neighboring Poland, where they can work on construction sites and in restaurants, filling the gap left by the millions of Poles who have left in search of work in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Remarkably, Justin Raimondo at the website Antiwar.com predicted the problems this would cause back in early March of this year:
We are told that ISIS is planning terrorist attacks in Europe, and security forces are busy rounding up suspects all across the continent – and yet here is this gaping hole in the West's defenses, where "the brothers" are quietly infiltrating without much notice in the Western media. In cooperation with ultra-nationalist groups like Right Sector, which have also formed their semiautonomous battalions, the Islamists of Ukraine, brandishing Ukrainian passports, have opened a gateway to the West ...
As US aid flows into Ukraine, how much of it will trickle down to these allies of ISIS -- and to what future use will it be put? If John McCain and Lindsey Graham have their way, US arms will soon find their way into the hands of these terrorists, whose jihad against the Russians is bound to turn westward and strike at the capitals of Europe.
This is blowback with a vengeance: we are creating our own enemies, and giving them the weapons to harm us, even as we claim the need for universal surveillance in order to fight them. The mad scientists formulating US foreign policy are raising an army of Frankenstein monsters -- who are sure to come after their deluded creators.
Like clockwork, eight months later we have the Paris attacks.
In July, the New York Times was reporting that three full Islamic battalions were fighting in eastern Ukraine. At about the same time, Elliot Friedland in The Jewish Voice was warning against the problems arising from this Islamic incursion in Ukraine:
Yet there are Islamist paramilitary battalions fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, which are aligned with the Islamic State and Chechen Islamist factions. If the U.S. steps up military aid to Ukraine, whose army is notoriously corrupt it may fall into the hands of Islamist battalions currently funded by a mixture of Ukrainian oligarchs, Gulf patrons, violent crime and extortion. The Ruskayya Blatina website said that a few militias belonging to the terrorist group ISIS began to fight against the Russian soldiers in Ukraine with support from the American authorities who gave recommendations to the Ukrainian government regarding the Islamic State ... Islamic State-aligned fighters also use Ukraine as a cheap and easy place to buy weapons, which can then be smuggled to Iraq and Syria and Chechenya.
During the past two months, connections between Ukraine and ISIS have moved up the chain of command, as evidenced by a top Ukrainian official giving his public support for ISIS. Just last week, weapons -- including a FN-6 antiaircraft missile system -- from the Ukrainian military "magically" ended up in the hands of ISIS which "were meant to be delivered to the militant group in Syria via smuggling routes in Turkey."
Soon after, the Russian hacking group CyberBerkut claimed it is "in possession of documents indicating that employees of the Ukrainian state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom had discussions with Qatari government officials over the possible sale of surface-to-air missiles [the S-125-2D Pechora-2D (NATO reporting name SA-3 Goa)] in September," weapons that were almost undoubtedly destined for ISIS. According to the leaked documents, the U.S. embassy in Doha also approved the deal.
What a mess. The question for the West now is who they would rather having controlling Ukraine's territory in the near future -- ISIS or Russia -- and the answer is clearly the latter. If the West wants to build a common coalition against the Islamic State, the best approach may be to remove the Islamic State of Turkey from NATO, allow Russia to take Ukraine, and then invite Russia into NATO (or whatever new alliance seems appropriate) in our common cause against the global jihad.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!" -- Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17