Tag Archives: FSB

The Trial: The St. Petersburg Metro Attack Reaches Court in Russia

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) and Oved Lobel on 14 July 2019

Abror Azimov in court in Moscow in April 2017 [photo source] and Mukhamadyusup Ermatov [photo source]

When defense officials from Russia, the U.S. and Israel met for an unprecedented trilateral summit in Jerusalem recently, it was in large measure another attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put into practice their long-running belief that Russia will help them deal with Iran and perhaps other counter-terrorist issues in Syria. Continue reading

The Unravelling of a Guided Islamic State Plot in Russia

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 26 February 2019

Islamic State terrorists responsible for the Danghara attack in Tajikistan, July 2018 [source]

Kommersant reports on the FSB foiling a series of guided plots by the Islamic State (IS) in late 2016. The IS guide in these cases was a Tajik, Tojiddin Nazarov (Abu Usama Noraki). Had IS’s operations been successful, they would have blown up the headquarters of Russian military intelligence (GRU) on the Khoroshevskoye Highway, as well as railway passengers. Continue reading

Litvinenko Verdict: What Happens Now?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on January 25, 2016

Published at Left Foot Forward.

The British inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko concluded on Thursday, making official what everyone already knew: the Russian intelligence services, “probably” at the direct order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, murdered Litvinenko in London in November 2006.

Welcome as it is to have this on the record and to have Litvinenko’s killers named for all the world to see, it now leaves questions, primarily:

Will similar forensic scrutiny be brought to bear on several other odd instances of political and other crime in Russia?

And what does the British government intend to do now that the Kremlin is carrying out assassinations on its territory again? Continue reading

How Russia Manipulates Islamic Terrorism

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on September 8, 2015

Shamil Basayev and Murad Margoshvili (a.k.a. Muslem al-Shishani)

Shamil Basayev and Murad Margoshvili (a.k.a. Muslem a-Shishani)

Last year I wrote about the murky role Russia was playing in the Syrian war, bolstering the Assad tyranny while facilitating the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and other Salafi-jihadists as a means of dividing and discrediting the Syrian opposition. Moscow’s action were in line with the strategy it had used to defeat the separatist movement in Chechnya, infiltrating the insurgency, driving it into extremism, and facilitating the arrival of al-Qaeda jihadists who displaced the Chechen nationalists. In Syria, Russia’s actions accord with the strategy adopted by the regime and its Iranian masters to present Assad as the last line of defence against a terrorist takeover of Syria and a genocide against the minorities. New evidence has emerged to underline these points. Continue reading

Film Review: Citizenfour (2014) by Laura Poitras

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on February 6, 2015

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Produced and directed by Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based, American-born producer and director, who has made numerous films attacking America’s foreign policy, Citizenfour rounds out a trilogy that started in 2006 with My Country, My Country about the U.S. regency in Iraq, and had its last instalment in 2010 with The Oath, a film that apparently follows two al-Qaeda members in Yemen and concludes they’re not such bad chaps.

The target this time for Poitras is the National Security Agency (NSA). Continue reading

Beware of Tyrants Bearing Gifts: Assad and Intelligence on the Islamic State

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 2, 2014

An ally against the Islamic State? Not quite.

An ally against the Islamic State? Not quite.

The United States signals intelligence (SIGINT) apparatus in Syria, which monitors the communications of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, has “yield[ed] unexpected intelligence over the Sunni jihadists that has helped guide American military operations in Syria and Iraq,” the Wall Street Journal print edition reported yesterday, based on high-level leaks. Continue reading

Russian Intelligence and the War In Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 21, 2014

Abu Omar a-Shishani, while in Georgian military, now as I.S. leader in Syria/Iraq

Abu Omar a-Shishani, while in Georgian military, now as I.S. leader in Syria/Iraq

The Syrian rebellion, on Oct. 5, took over areas of Tel al-Hara, near Nawa, a major town twenty miles north of Deraa City, which is a strategic gateway to the road networks that keep the Assad regime alive in Deraa Province. The videos (1/2/3) showed FSA-branded rebels like Liwa al-Furqan and Jabhat Thuwar as-Suriya (the Syrian Revolutionaries’ Front) in control. Jabhat an-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, had an important presence, but it was not dominant. So this seemed like good news on its own terms.

Two days later the plot thickened when a further video was uploaded to YouTube, showing the rebels touring a captured regime intelligence station in Tel al-Hara: Continue reading