Tue Apr 4, 2017 8:23AM
Police officers guard the entrance to Sennaya Square metro station in Saint Petersburg on April 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Police officers guard the entrance to Sennaya Square metro station in Saint Petersburg on April 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
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Monday’s bloody bomb explosion that ripped through a metro train in Russia’s St. Petersburg has drawn strong condemnations from around the world. The bombing which was denounced by the UN Security Council as "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" has revived heated debates about whether it will have an effect of any kind on Russia’s counterterrorism policies, particularly in the Middle East. Peter Sinnott, an independent scholar, and James Jatras, a former US diplomat, have shared with Press TV their analyses of the attack and its unfolding fallout.

James Jatras maintains that seeing such terrorist attacks inside a country which has locked horns with terrorist groups should not surprise anybody, stressing that this is what exactly Russian authorities could expect from the beginning of their campaign against Takfiri terrorists in Syria.  

“I think the Russian campaign against the terrorists in Syria is one of the fundamental, vital national interests of the Russian Federation. They cannot risk having another Libya a day's drive from the North Caucasus. Because there is a link between al-Qaeda and these other terrorist groups and what they're facing within the Russian territory,” the analyst noted, adding that for Moscow, this campaign is indispensable rather than optional.

Asked about the possibility of cooperation between Washington and Moscow in the fight against terrorism, he replied that despite the conflicting signals sent to Moscow since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the US president, it seems that the new administration will eventually prefer cooperation to confrontation in its dealings with Russia.

“For a lot of the Western establishment, certainly in the United States, Russia is still the main enemy. And at least implicitly, these jihadists are an asset. They're problematic but they could also be a strategic asset, a weapon to be used against Russian interests or against Russian clients like Syria,” he said, adding that there needs to be a fundamental reorientation in the US which should put things in priority. “The terrorists [are] the main enemy and we really need to be working with the Russians,” Jatras reiterated.

The image grab shows Peter Sinnott (R), an independent scholar, and James Jatras, a former US diplomat, on Press TV's 'The Debate' show on April 3, 2017.

 

Meanwhile, Peter Sinnott, the other panelist on the show, predicted that Takfiri groups like Daesh would be completely defeated by summer whether or not Russia and the US enter an alliance, adding that what is more important is the new "geopolitical spectrum" that has formed in the Middle East.

I think that by summer, the ISIL will be gone and then we're going to be looking at a very different geopolitical spectrum there. We're going to be looking at Turkey which has become much more aggressive in its war against the Kurds and how it views northern Syria's Kurds. We have seen Saudi Arabia reach out to Pakistan just yesterday and trying to form a military alliance with them.”

Sinnott went on, “It seems to me that much of Western Europe has given up on Assad and whether he survives or not, it will be in a splintered state and I think the larger forces of Turkey, Russia's role in the region and Saudi Arabia's role in the region and Iran's role in the region will be what will be the next conflict and I would expect that sooner rather than later.”