Russia: SCO Can Get Involved In ISIS Fight
As the Shanghai Cooperation Organization wraps up anti-terror exercises in Kyrgyzstan, a senior Russian official has said the group should play a role in fighting ISIS.
The SCO held command-staff exercises in Kyrgyzstan from September 15-17, attended by officials from the anti-terror organizations of member states China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. (In most cases that meant the post-KGB structures like Russia's Federal Security Service and Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security.) "The purpose of these exercises is organizing and carrying out search operations to avoid terrorist attacks in SCO territory,” Kyrgyzstan's SCNS reported.
On Friday, senior SCO officials reviewed the results of the exercise in Tashkent (home to the SCO's Regional Anti-Terror Structure headquarters), and Sergei Smirnov, the deputy head of Russia's Federal Security Service, highlighted the role the organization could play in fighting ISIS.
"Representatives of all the relevant organs of the SCO member states understand the danger to the international community represented by the activities of this state and the damage which it could cause to us," Smirnov said.
Russia has for several months been pushing for a widening of the international coalition fighting ISIS, but Smirnov's comments come as Russia's unilateral actions in Syria are the focus of the world's attention. Russia is sending weaponry and -- Western officials say -- troops to Syria to try to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.
It should be noted that the official statement of the Tashkent meeting of the SCO -- which is dominated by China -- contained nothing about ISIS or Syria. It's far from clear that any other SCO member states would be interested in getting involved in Syria and/or Iraq.