Posted below is the transcript of the speech of Colonel-General Igor Sergun, Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia.
This speech was delivered at the Moscow Security Conference in May 2015.
As a general rule, the GRU never makes a public statement, nor does the person heading it. It is thus interesting that on one of the very few occasions where General Sergun agreed to speak in public, he chose to focus on the risks of the so-called “Islamic” extremism and that in a relatively short presentation, he made four references to the fact that these “Islamic” terrorists are basically a creature of the West.
One might be tempted to say “nothing new here, we all know that” – but that would be missing the point. The point is that the head of Russian military intelligence is openly declaring that the so-called “Islamic terrorism” is not an original or indigenous phenomenon, but an instrument in the toolset of western imperialism which is used to subvert the countries which dare oppose the worldwide hegemony of the Anglo-American-Zionist Empire.
Translated from Russian by Shed
One of the most dangerous challenges of the current times is presented by the international terrorism, which is rapidly acquiring a political nature and is being turned into a real force, striving to come to power in certain countries.
We are witnessing a steady trend towards globalization of activities of extremist organizations. This includes a wide geographic spread, strengthening of the interaction between previously disparate groups, as well as swift adaptation to situational changes.
Among international terrorist organizations, the role of radical Islamists is increasing. Their leaders are developing collaboration and seek to create zones of instability, which include not only countries but entire regions.
The “Terrorist International” under creation aims at restoration through military force the “Great Caliphate” within the borders encompassing the Middle East, the Caucasus, Northern Africa and Iberian Peninsula. A campaign for formation of the united front of the “Global Jihad” was announced, with the aim of conducting armed struggle against the “main enemies of Islam”, represented by the USA, Western European countries, Russia and Muslim countries with the secular governments.
Currently, terrorism presents the greatest threat for Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, where ” Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant “, ” Al-Qaeda “, ” Jabhat al-Nusra “, Islamic Taliban Movement and other radical groups are active,
Al-Qaeda’ remains one of the most powerful terrorist organizations, although in current conditions it has become to a greater extent “the banner of the war against infidels” for the Islamists, while the related regional groups operate virtually independently.
Lately, the ” Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant “, which managed to force its control over a significant part of Iraq and Syria, is successfully striving to occupy leading position among the extremist organizations.
The terrorists have declared the establishment of an ‘Islamic Caliphate’ on occupied territories and started to set up their own ‘public institutions’, including financial and judicial systems. Sustainable centralized control over the armed groups has been organized.
The strengthening of ISIS has seriously destabilized the situation in Africa. ISIS provides substantial military and financial assistance to the local extremists, sends reinforcements composed of the Syrian and Iraqi terrorists. The groups receiving such support are ‘Ansar al-Sharia’, operating in North Africa, and ‘Boko Haram,’ in the West of the continent, while the greatest threat to the stability of East Africa is the Somali terrorist organization ‘Al-Shabab al-Mujahedeen,’ responsible for a number of high-profile actions.
Equally alarming is the situation that is developing in the Middle East and Central Asia, where extremist organizations such as the ‘Taliban’, ‘Hizb-ut-Tahrir’ and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan maintain high combat potential. We estimate that currently, in Afghanistan alone, about 50 thousand militants are fighting. Afghan and Pakistani territories host a network of terrorist training camps, including the training camps for suicide bombers.
Active dissemination of radical Islamist ideas has a negative impact on the development of the situation in Southeast Asia. In particular, unpredictable consequences could be caused by the extremist organization, ‘Jamaa Islamiya’, whose main goal is the creation of a single Islamic theocratic state within the borders of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Muslim provinces of Thailand and the Philippines.
In recent years, the level of terrorist threat in Europe has increased. This is primarily due to the insurgents returning from the “hot spots” ready to use the gained experience at home. About 600 jihadists returned in the past four years to Germany alone.
The extremists’ influence has spread to include some South American regions. The Tri-border Area, located along the junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, is considered a springboard by the extremists.
An undercover activity of some of the states aimed at achieving their own foreign policy missions through secret financing of Islamic structures destabilizes the situation.
While flirting with the extremists, some Western countries seem to be sure that the so-called policy of controlled chaos in far-away regions shall not result in tragic consequences, at least, in the middle term, but I think such opinion is unsound.
It is no secret that it was at the instigation of Western ‘partners’ that since the 1980s, Islamic extremism was rapidly gaining momentum. To counter the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, there was heavy arming – with the funds from the United Stated of America and other NATO states – of scattered groups of Jihadists and Mujahideen who subsequently merged into major terrorist groups and movements. With financial and military assistance from Washington and its allies, rendered in order to eliminate the regime in Syria, unwanted by the West, the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ and ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ were created. Military intervention in Libya by the Alliance entailed similar results.
Availability of the stable sources of financing for the extremists is the reason for a serious concern. The most reliable cash-flow channels include various non-governmental organizations and foundations. For example, in the states of the Arabian Peninsula there are about 200 such organizations.
A major source of income is the control over drugs production and trafficking. This activity brings the Islamists of the Middle East and Central Asia up to US $500 million a year.
It happens quite often that actions of Washington and the West in general in various regions of the world contribute to creation of serious problems, including drug trafficking, religious extremism and terrorism, after which Washington heroically mobilizes the international community to neutralize the problems.
In general, under the slogan of struggle for ‘pure Islam’, international terrorism is becoming a form of transnational crime. In fact, it has become a lucrative business with capital turnover running into billions, with drug trafficking, hostage taking, smuggling weapons and precious metals.
In search of additional sources of funding, jihadists purposefully develop links with nationalist organizations, pirates and separatists.
Thus, we should expect that, in the short term, the level of terrorist threats in the world would remain high enough. Scaling up of extremist groups, among others at the instigation of the United States and its allies, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia, poses a real threat of terrorism export to European countries, the republics of the CIS and the Asia-Pacific region.
Thank you for your attention.
Transcript of speech presented at at the IV Moscow Conference on International Security devoted to: “Global Security: Radical Transformation or Creation of New Rules for the Game?” (April 16, 2015 г.),