The Associated Press reports: The Russian province of Dagestan, a flashpoint for Islamic violence in the North Caucasus, is feeding hundreds of fighters to the Islamic State in Syria — and now some are coming back home with experience gained from the battlefield.
The departures mean that the region itself has become markedly less violent recently with fewer bombings and shootings. And the returning fighters have either landed in jail or been kept under close police surveillance. But there are long-term concerns that the presence of radical Muslims trained in IS warfare could lead to greater instability and violence.
“We can’t allow them to use the experience they have just gained in Syria back home,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently.
Eduard Urazayev, a former minister in Dagestan’s provincial government, and now a political analyst, said that poverty and unemployment in the region made the IS recruiters’ job easier. “If the high level of corruption and unfavorable socio-economic situation remain,” Urazayev said, “it may further fuel protest sentiments and increase sympathy for the IS.” [Continue reading…]