Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks the United States should look to Israel on fighting global terror, the leader said last week while speaking at an international forum.
Criticizing the US’s conservative foreign policies in the Middle East and Syria, where Russia has taken an aggressive role in the country’s ongoing civil war, Putin told the Valdai International Discussion Club that America’s weaker approach would effectively “leave a nest of terrorists in place”.
“We keep hearing Aleppo, Aleppo, Aleppo,” he said, referring to persevering US concerns over the risk of civilian casualties in the Syrian city in case of military action against the Islamic State.
“But what is the issue here? Do we leave the nest of terrorists in place there, or do we squeeze them out, doing our best to minimize and avoid civilian casualties?” Putin asked.
He mocked American hesitation to act, saying sarcastically, “If it is better to not go in at all, then the offensive against Mosul shouldn’t go ahead at all either. Let’s just leave everything as it is.”
US-backed Iraqi forces are currently engaged in a battle against ISIS for control of the city of Mosul, the Islamic caliphate’s biggest asset in Iraq.
“Let’s leave Raqqa alone too,” the Russian leader suggested, referring to the ISIS’ de-facto capital in Syria.
“Our partners keep saying, ‘We need to take back Raqqa and eliminate the nest of terrorists there.’ But there are civilians in Raqqa too. So, should we not fight the terrorists at all? And when they take hostages in towns, should we just leave them be?”
He then held up Israel as a model of strong anti-terror policies, advising America to “look at Israel’s example.”
“Israel never steps back but always fights to the end, and this is how it survives,” Putin said.
The US, like Israel, should recognize that “There is no alternative. We need to fight. If we keep retreating, we will always lose,” he concluded.
Russia and Israel enjoy good diplomatic ties. During a visit to Moscow last September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a joint press conference with Putin that the two countries “share a common interest to ensure stability in the Middle East.”