The self-proclaimed Islamic State is facing fire from all sides and far beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq following the Paris attacks, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. In addition to Kurdish rebels, pro-Assad fighters, Russian forces, American and Russian personnel and air strikers, and cyber-attacks from hacker group Anonymous – Anonymous has managed to take down an Islamic State website and replace it with a Viagra advertisement, according to the Independent – Islamic State can expect France and its allies to continue ramping up their anti-ISIS effort.
At press time Germany had just jumped into the fight against Islamic State, committing personnel and hardware to the fight, as reported by The Age.
Not all the myriad camps fighting against Islamic State are working together seamlessly, though. Russian leader Vladimir Putin has just accused the United States of leaking information about the flight path of one of its planes, according to the Daily Mail.
Putin claims he shared the flight path of one of his jets with US intelligence, and that the jet was shot down after it entered Turkish airspace.
“They knew the exact time and the exact place [where the jet would be entering Turkey],”complained Putin, who went on to accuse the US of stabbing him in the back. The Russian leader believes the US has either shared his information with the aim of sabotaging Russian jets wilfully, or carelessly leaked Russian information with US allies who do not have Russia’s best interests at heart.
Whatever the motivation behind the leak, Putin is convinced the US was complicit in the destruction of the Russian jet, and there are now fears that intelligence-sharing will be undermined at a time when all anti-ISIS fighters need to cooperate to defeat the Islamic State.
Turkish officials now insist they tried to warn the pilot that the Russian jet was flying into a strike zone as it approached the site where it was shot down. Turkey has released what it claims is a recording of warnings given to the Russian pilots, instructing them to change course, as reported by The Huffington Post.
For his part, Putin has just met with the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, where they discussed French-Russian coordination in the fight against Islamic State, and where Putin expressed his commitment to teaming with France to defeat ISIS following the Paris attacks.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said “neutralizing and eradicating Daesh” – Daesh is the Arabic acronym used for Islamic State – is the priority that should be shared by all France’s allies. The week of intense talks also saw Vladimir Putin meeting with the French president.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, as well as for the destruction of another Russian aircraft, this time a passenger plane, over Egypt.
Fabius said that, during their talks, Putin agreed on the need to focus international efforts against Islamic State, and the US/Russian clash over the leaked intelligence comes as a potential snag in that plan to coordinate efforts internationally.
France is reportedly drawing up a map of moderate groups that it hopes will help protect anti-ISIS fighters on the ground from warplanes.
In addition to the new clash with Russia, which could escalate the suspicion and tension between two hostorically distrustful powers, the US is facing criticism for lacking a “strategy” for dealing with Islamic State, as reported by The Telegraph.
Western intelligence officials have dismissed Obama’s approach to Islamic State approach as a “smoke and mirrors” public relations exercise. The intelligence experts, who were interviewed by The Telegraph, reportedly said that there is no substance, finesse, or decisive action in Obama’s plan.
One of the officials even reportedly quit in anger over Obama’s limp approach to countering such a dangerous enemy.
“It’s smoke and mirrors, and that is the dirty little secret,” said Derek Harvey, a Middle East specialist and, prior to his angry resignation, one of Obama’s lead intelligence advisers.
While trust between the US and Russia may be shaky, Putin has agreed to cooperate fully with France against ISIS and, indeed, Russia’s fearsome S-400 missile systems have just arrived in Syria. Russia and France will be sharing intelligence as they battle Islamic State, as reported by Grasswire.
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