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The Long, Twisted History of Russia and ISIS

The Long, Twisted History of Russia and ISIS

The fault lines in Russian society have foretold yesterday’s atrocity for literally centuries. Stringer / AFP / Getty March 23, 2024, 12:23 PM ET A decade ago, when foreign fighters were flowing into Syria, the Islamic State’s capital, Raqqa, became a sort of Epcot of global jihad: New arrivals from different nations clustered together in their national groups. If you were a recent arrival from France or just wanted to know where to get a croissant, you could visit a café full of French people and ask. Tens of thousands of foreign fighters came from places as distant as Chile and Japan. Russia alone contributed as many as 4,000, according to President Vladimir Putin, and by all accounts, their cluster focused not on pastry but on warfare. The only countries that put up numbers to rival Russia’s were Tunisia and Turkey. Yesterday, terrorists murdered at least 133 concertgoers in suburban Moscow. The Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, posted the group’s claim of responsibility, as usual in language balanced between wire-service precision and rabid derangement. The …