By Irina Severin | UAObserver
Increased Russian propaganda activity about a possible Putin's ground operation in Syria was started by Putin himself in order to draw the West into a ground conflict with ISIS. The trick is simple: if the Kremlin talks about a ground operation against ISIS, then the West would want to get ahead of the Kremlin and be the first to send troops for a ground operation.
The Kremlin hopes to put the West on the wrong track and thus weaken it physically, financially and morally. Putin wants that not Russia, but the West get stuck in the Middle East the same way as the Soviet Union got stuck in Afghanistan before the collapse. Putin also wants to set up the entire Muslim world against the West, and not against Russia.
Russia practically invests nothing in the war in Syria - all military operations taking place as a way of utilization of outdated Soviet equipment, as it is more expensive to dispose of it in Russia than to bomb the Assad opposition in Syria. The second direction is a test of new weaponry, if, of course, the information about it is not a propagandist bluff from the start - a psychological attack designed for preventive intimidation of the enemy.
Russia's main emphasis is on the information war, which the West completely ignores. Lagging behind the West for decades militarily, Russia has an overwhelming advantage in the information sphere. As a result, Russia could transform any defeat in the perception of the masses into a victory and any crime into the rightness of the Russian side. All actions of the West are discredited from the start. As a result, the West initially loses all the battles, since the information sphere is controlled by Moscow.
Russia would have used the West’s ground operations in the Middle East masterfully to discredit the West, accusing it of victims of the local population. Even if the collateral damage is not there, the Kremlin will create vivid pictures and spread them as it often happened in Ukraine. In addition, the bombing and ground operations in Syria and Iraq will make it much easier for Russia to provoke terrorist attacks by the Islamists in the West since they will create the necessary information background for this.
At the same time, ISIL is not a traditional structure, therefore traditional methods of war will not work with it. The main battle to destroy ISIL should be conducted on the Internet, where its main operations are carried out. It is necessary to block propaganda, communications, and financing - all this happens using infrastructure launched by the FSB - the anonymous social network Telegram and Bitcoin project used for the anonymous financing of terrorists and other Russian subversive special operations abroad. Recruitment to the ranks of ISIS and of random terrorists are also carried out on the Internet through online gaming platforms. By solving these problems, the West will weaken not only international terrorism but also the entire network of Putin's influencers and fictitious political movements in the West. Without funding, they won't exist.
ISIS is a network of mercenaries with an artificially created ideology and a syncretic religion tailored to the needs of a terrorist organization. The struggle against perverted ideology and false religion should also be conducted on the Internet. Enough to block the channels of propaganda, recruitment, and funding, and ISIS will cease to exist without ground operations. The main problem which will remain to resolve will be the rehabilitation of people with the already crippled psyche.