Photo: Yousef Masoud/AP

How Russia helps terrorists fight against Israel and the West

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Hamas spokesperson Ghazi Hamad acknowledged that Iran backed their recent assault on Israel. Additionally, he hinted at support from other countries without naming them.

Meanwhile, the Russian Main Directorate of the General Staff has already passed on trophy weapons seized in Ukraine to Hamas. They originate from the USA and the EU and were given to Ukraine to defend itself against the Russian invasion.

It has been done to blame Ukraine as if it sells Western weapons to terrorists. As part of the Russian disinformation campaign, these fabrications are intended to underpin “exposé articles” and “investigations” in Western media.

It’s not the first time Russia has supported terrorists and used their attacks for its benefit. Let’s have a quick look into the context of relations between Russian and terrorist organisations, involved in the recent attack on Israel.

On 7 October 2023, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing and mutilating civilians. The world was appalled by the ferocity of the attacks and by the subsequent celebrations in Gaza, Iran, and many other places. Later, another terrorist organisation – Hezbollah – attacked Israel from Lebanese territory.

Many experts agree that Russia is one of the main supporters of terrorists and will continue using the recent attack on Israel to reduce support for Ukraine.

Researchers from the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) revealed that the Kremlin is leveraging the recent Hamas attacks to divert Western attention from Ukraine. Russians promote narratives that criticise the West for prioritising Ukraine, suggesting that it’s a zero-sum game. While the Russian MFA directly blames the West for the attack on Israel.

– The instability created by the attack on Israel is intended to pull U.S. attention, as well as resources, away from the war in Ukraine and prevent Israel-Saudi normalization. Don’t imagine this is just an unprovoked, brutal attack by a bunch of terrorists from Gaza. It is much more than that. The hands that pushed these killers forward are in Moscow. Unwilling to take the fight directly to NATO, Putin instead has been fomenting conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Serbia and Kosovo, in West Africa, and now in Israel.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of UK Armed Forces

Since the 1960s, the Soviet Union relied on disinformation and supporting proxy organisations to destabilise the West and fuel conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. They notably backed terrorist groups, including a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization responsible for numerous hijackings and bombings in the ’60s and ’70s.

Later, as a KGB officer, Putin was allegedly dealing with terrorists during his time in Dresden.

– The Soviet leaders approach to terrorism derives from their broader view that violence is a basic, legitimate tool of political struggle to be applied or sponsored in those settings where its use will benefit the USSR. As a result, the Soviets have no moral compunctions about supporting foreign insurgent and terrorist groups; the primary consideration is whether the activities of these groups further Soviet interests.

A snippet from the 1986 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessment titled The Soviet Bloc Role in International Terrorism and Revolutionary Violence.

Photo: Bilal Hussein/AP

Since 2015, Russia has been actively involved in fighting side-by-side with another terrorist group, the Iranian-affiliated Lebanese Hezbollah. They both work in alliance with the Assad regime in Syria and are responsible for numerous war crimes.

By 2018, the US Department of the Treasury unveiled a smuggling scheme involving Hezbollah, Iran and Russia that helped the Assad regime to evade sanctions. Instead, Hezbollah might have been compensated with weaponry while their leaders were welcomed in Moscow.

Photo: Khaled Al Harir/Reuters

Hamas leaders have also frequently met with the Russian leadership and visited Moscow following the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. A delegation from Islamic Jihad, another group from Gaza, also travelled to Moscow in March 2023. While the Islamic Republic of Iran has publicly praised the attacks on Israel and has been a top supporter of Russian invasion of Ukraine, providing military assistance to Russia.

– Russia is on its way to becoming the same terrorist financier that the Soviet Union once was. Every terrorist group that wanted to kill Westerners had a checking account in Moscow. Russia invests in chaos and death to achieve its political goals. Terror is now in the game, and those who supported Ukraine become targets for Russian-financed terrorism. We are back in the 1980s – Russian/USSR money “outsource” to terrorists and warlords to sow chaos, death, and mayhem for the Russians’ cynical goals.

Jan Kallberg, PhD, a non-resident senior fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security program at the CEPA

And what are Russians saying about the recent attack on Israel?

They celebrate. Propagandist Dmitry Steshin stated that Israelis shouldn’t receive “a drop of pity or sympathy.” Another one, Marat Bulatov, called “Palestine to keep it up!” and read a message by a certain Nina from St Petersburg who, referring to the Hamas attack, said: “We only have good news today!”

This photo represents how “good news” looks to the Russians.

Photo: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

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