Russia's misguided Middle East re-entry

October 22, 2015 12:01 AM

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Russia's misguided Middle East re-entry

Of course, Alawites and Shiites are no threat to Moscow's authority. But Sunni Islamists are, as evidenced by their attacks within Russia in recent years. In response, Russian Orthodox Church priests are turning to holy war, too, with one recent image showing a priest blessing fighter planes before bombing sorties against the Sunnis. Given this, Putin knows the specter of cross-confessional violence is looming over Russia, and he is determined to root it out.

The problem is that by entering the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts with its own troops and advisers, Russia is adding fuel to the lure of jihadism rather than tamping it. Dozens of Saudi clerics are already reportedly issuing edicts for Sunni to fulfill jihad, a pillar of Islam, by fighting not only Ala...

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