Spread of post-Arab Spring Islamism poses threat to Russia – security tsar

Radicalization of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring may pose a threat to Russia, Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev has said in an interview with Interfax news agency, as reported by it on 1 June.

"We have sufficient grounds to believe that Islamization and radicalization of certain Middle Eastern and North African countries after the Arab Spring may convert them into a ‘nest’ of terrorism that could threaten the Russian Federation," he said.

"We closely follow this issue as Islamization and radicalization in the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring could lead to an increase in terrorist activity and the number of militants in several Russian regions. Including those from the ranks of Islamists from foreign countries," Patrushev added.

A later Interfax report on the same day quoted him as saying that among rebels killed by the law-enforcement agencies in the North Caucasus there were Russian nationals who had undergone insurgency training in Lebanon.

"There were Russian citizens amongst bandits killed in the North Caucasus in 2012 who received insurgency training in the Lebanese Republic and fought on the side of the international terrorist organization Fatah al-Islam," Patrushev said. He continued: "On their return to the Russian Federation with the purpose of conducting insurgency activities on the territory of the Republic of Kabarda-Balkaria, they formed a group of radical Islamists and were in active contact with international terrorist organizations that financed their criminal activity."

"This year, a member of a militant group, a citizen of the Republic of Libya, (?Ukheyda Suleyman Rusman) (known among militants as Abu-Khalid), may decide on a voluntary surrender," added Patrushev.

A still later Interfax report on 1 June further quoted him as saying that the conflict in Libya had led to an uncontrolled spread of arms from that country.

"The military conflict in Libya and a year-long unrest in Syria, which involves terrorist groups linked to Al-Qa’idah, both have become an additional catalyst for the negative dynamics," said Patrushev, adding: "Uncontrolled proliferation of conventional arms from Libya presents a particular threat to Russia."

Sources: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0345, 0347 and 0348 gmt 1 Jun 12

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