Translated by Farah El Desouky
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine some terrorist experts expect that ISIS practices might not only return in their initial places in Syria and Iraq but they are also expected to emerge in new conflict places between Ukraine and Russia. Taking advantage of the stop of the Russian air strikes in some areas as they are busy with the Ukrainian issue, and Russia removing its troops form most of ISIS targeted areas to focus on the invasion of Kiev and the rest of the Ukrainian states. Which leaves us with multiple of questions among them will ISIS be able to control new areas? And will ISIS control European borders or not?
The Jurisprudence of the crisis:
The follower to ISIS patterns of attacks will notice that the group always start their operations whenever a civil war break like in Syria, and the overthrown of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and after the US invasion of Iraq. Due to the strategy of most of the Jehad groups take advantage of the political turmoil that the states might face and they start to disappear whenever the state passes these critical times the group’s practices disappear.
Based on the preceding rule, the organization’s situation can be analyzed and read in light of the Ukrainian war. From the start, the organization stated that it would not participate in the Ukrainian war in any way, and it called on Muslims worldwide not to participate in this war, which it referred to as a crusade – a crusade. As a result, due to the absence of ISIS’s ideological incubator in this war, it is not possible for the organization to seek assistance from one of the two sides of the conflict; however, this does not mean that some elements of the organization do not participate individually, as some may seek vengeance against the Russian or Ukrainian sides based on their personal backgrounds, and others may seek assistance from both sides. Depending on their personal backgrounds, some may take part in vengeance against the Russian or Ukrainian side. Those who do not belong to these organizations for ideological reasons, but rather for difficult social and material reasons.
In the same vein, the organization used Russia’s preoccupation with the Ukrainian war to call for public membership through the organization’s media, indicating that the organization is on solid ground and hoping for new jihadist gains by capitalizing on international concern about the Ukrainian war and its economic consequences. As a result, the reality suggests that the rate of conscription and conscription may increase in the coming period, as will the index of ISIS operations, especially given the lack of a specific timetable for the end of this war.
Possible extension implications:
According to data from the international scene, ISIS members are likely to increase their strength in order to control new areas for the following reasons:
(*) Consequences of the current situation: The current situation is likely to prompt elements of other organizations or extremists who are not affiliated with ISIS to join its ranks, especially after ISIS elements launched a media war against certain organizations, such as Chechen fighters, particularly those fighting on the Russian side, which has suggested to some extremists that ISIS elements are the surviving band for which any extremist is looking in application of its ideology, where the organization defends, l According to some published reports, the number of ISIS adherents from Chechnya has increased as well as from Russians, as a result of the organization’s exploitation of the security situation and desire to expand its cell network in this volatile new region.
(*) International coalition strikes against the organization have been scaled back: It is clear that ISIS is exploiting the current differences between international forces, as well as the absence of Russian raids in areas where it is stationed in Syria and Iraq, and is thus beginning to escalate the violence in those areas. This confirms the link between the length of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the spread of ISIS. As a result, the organization is likely to strike in some Syrian and Iraqi areas, particularly now that Russia has withdrawn its forces (Wagner) from Syria and Iraq to cover the war in Ukraine.
(*) Suspension of arms deals from Russia: The suspension of arms deals from Russia to countries in crisis is likely to be served by war – ISIS conditions, owing to the inability of countries where the organization still exists to withstand it, given the weakness of the supply of weapons, the ramifications of which will grow if the current situation persists.
(*) Wagner’s withdrawal from Africa: According to reports, many African countries, including Mali and Central African States, evacuated in January to follow Russian military operations in Ukraine, which may serve the organization’s interests and allow it to expand in some African extensions. More than 17 African countries have abstained in support of the United Nations resolution, which calls on Russia to stop using weapons against Ukraine.
(*) Complete cessation of Russian raids against ISIS: The cessation of Russian raids has contributed to the escalation of violence in areas where the organization is stationed, as well as the organization’s declaration of itself as unaffected by the death of its leader nearly two months ago. The cessation of Russian raids, which had reached 674 in the previous month – that is, prior to the Ukrainian War – clearly gave the organization time to rearrange its accounts, especially after it had disposed of intelligence and military monitoring in some areas, and allowed it to operate more prepared and in greater numbers in one operation.
European belt aimed at:
Europe also faced difficulties in obtaining evidence for the prosecution of ISIS returnees in Syria and Iraq, as well as difficulties in rehabilitating these elements as a result of their radicalization.
Clearly, the Russian side is mobilizing some experienced Chechen fighters, as well as other elements of Iraqi Hezbollah and Lebanese Hezbollah, and their return to their home country or other countries at the end of the war poses a serious societal threat, especially since the bloody practice of terrorism, in the presence of the terrorist, creates a desire for violence, which is known as the extremist’s blood-engineering sequence.
As a result of the practical difficulties and security concerns, the governments of most European and other countries will refuse to accept those returning combatants from the war. This could lead to the majority of terrorist elements fighting in that war remaining in Russian-Ukrainian infiltration and eventually joining ISIS, which could be based in disputed areas between Russia and Ukraine.
According to published reports, elements from Estonia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, and other Ukrainian neighboring states, as well as Chechen fighters, all of whom are likely to join ISIS in the said area, forming an ISIS belt from which violent acts posing a potential threat to European depth are triggered.
In the same vein, the prospects for cooperation between organizations in the region between Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Khorasan State and the Organization Branch of Afghanistan, remain promising. The Khorasan State is based on the doctrine of fighting a distant foe in the west. As a result of the war’s consequences, the area bordering Ukraine will become a jihadist hotspot for terrorist groups to congregate. This viewpoint was confirmed in the Fourteenth United Nations Report, which warned of the dangers of returning fighters to Europe. This comes as ISIS cells in Europe are increasingly being dismantled through the transfer of funds to terrorist associations and organizations. Assuming that these states are unable to prosecute them due to a lack of resources, or leaked evidence, it is expected that these elements will resort to regulation based on European borders.
Finally, based on the evidence and readings presented above, it appears that the European belt between Russia and Ukraine, as well as its extensions, particularly within Ukraine, will be an ideal breeding ground for extremist groups such as ISIS. Events and events may be unfolding that will allow ISIS, now in control of larger areas, to conduct operations with influence within Europe while also escalating activity in its traditional areas of concentration in the Middle East and Africa for the reasons stated above.