Will Russia Turn Its Full Fury on the Islamic State?

Russia may turn its attention from rebels fighting the Assad regime to the Islamic State. (Image: Donkey Hotey / Flickr Commons)

Russia may turn its attention from rebels fighting the Assad regime to the Islamic State. (Image: Donkey Hotey / Flickr Commons)

If such a tragic event as the crash of Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, the likely result of a bomb on the plane, can be said to have one, a sampling of U.S. intelligence personnel see a silver lining.

Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef at the Daily Beast write:

Now, six U.S. intelligence and military officials told The Daily Beast that they hoped an ISIS attack on Russian civilians would force Putin to finally take the gloves off and attack the group, which the U.S. has been trying to dislodge from Iraq and Syria for more than a year, without success.

“Now maybe they will start attacking [ISIS],” one senior defense official smugly wondered last week. “And stop helping them,” referring to ISIS gains in Aleppo that came, in part, because the group took advantage of Russian strikes on other rebels and militant outfits.

In fact

Since the plane crashed, Russia has struck two ISIS-controlled areas in Syria: Raqqa and Palmyra.

The trouble with that scenario is that, at least as much as the Islamic State, the civilians it reigns over in its territories will suffer under the bombing. ’Twas ever thus.