Press Digest: ISIS threatens attack on Rome; Right Sector protests in Kiev

ISIS fighters celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, on a street in the Iraqi city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. Source: Reuters

ISIS fighters celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, on a street in the Iraqi city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. Source: Reuters

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring reports on threats by the Islamic State militant group against Italy and conflict between the Right Sector radical organization and the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, as well as analysis of King Salman’s reshuffling of the line of succession in Saudi Arabia.

ISIS jihadists vow to bring terror to residents of Rome

The Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has threatened to attack the residents of Rome, reports centrist newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Photos depicting extremists against the backdrop of the Colosseum with a threatening caption have appeared on the internet.

The EU is seriously concerned with protecting its citizens from attacks by radicals and plans to open an anti-terrorism center to exchange information about militants and cyber criminals, writes the newspaper. This is one of the priorities of the new EU security strategy until 2020, which was developed by the European Commission. In addition, Brussels intends to strengthen ties between the national security services of European states.

President of the Institute of Religion and Politics Alexander Ignatenko said in a comment to the publication that this threat by the Islamists should be treated absolutely seriously.

"This is a claim for territorial expansion by ISIS. They consider Rome a territory that is part of the 'Islamic Caliphate,'" said Ignatenko. He noted that similar photos of ISIS militants against the backdrop of well-known structures in different countries have already appeared on the internet – extremists have had their photos taken against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Atomium in Brussels, etc.

He added that the tens of thousands of migrants that have sailed to Italy could represent a danger from the perspective of the terrorist threat. "This may be one of the lines of the ISIS offensive against Italy and specifically against Rome," he said.

 

Right Sector stands up for its rights in Kiev

The conflict between the radical Ukrainian movement Right Sector and the Ukrainian authorities has reached a new level, business daily Kommersant reports. Fighters with the volunteer corps staged a protest in the center of Kiev, threatening next time to burn the presidential administration building. The radicals argued that the military leadership, which had demanded that they disarm, did not appreciate their services to the country. The fighters said that they had fought in the hottest spots of the antiterrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, and therefore are entitled to privileges – the inclusion of Right Sector into the armed forces of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, the preservation of the unit in its current form and permission for the fighters to carry weapons, the newspaper writes.

According to Igor Levchenko from the Ukrainian Politics foundation, the currently uncertain legal status of Right Sector does not give it the right to gun ownership, therefore the unit uses weapons seized from the enemy.

"There are not enough [weapons], so that out of nearly 5,000 members, only about 1,000 are fighting. But it is these fighters that carry out offensive operations in the area of the antiterrorist operation. Regular units often prefer to stay in defense," Levchenko told Kommersant.

The expert believes that the Ukrainian government will preserve the Right Sector as its "most motivated offensive assault force," transforming it into a regular unit.

 

Saudi king appoints security heads as new heirs

The online newspaper Gazeta.ru reports on important personnel changes in the leadership of Saudi Arabia. According to the website, King Salman has made Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman crown prince and deputy crown prince, respectively. This means that the young Saudi princes may become the next generation of leaders who will rule the state after the current head of the country, writes Gazeta.ru.

Experts note that both heirs represent the defense and law enforcement agencies, which is an important factor in the context of the increasing regional confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Gazeta.ru reminds us that the battleground for both countries is Yemen, where a war is raging against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have risen against the ruling Sunni regime. According to Middle East analyst Theodore Karasik, Mohammed bin Nayef and Mohammed bin Salman are the figures with whom the Russian authorities will have to cooperate if Saudi Arabia looks for new approaches to the Syrian conflict. "The Saudi King realizes that Russia holds the keys to the situation in Syria, but at the same time he wants Russia to understand the position of Saudi Arabia on the future of Syria and the fate of [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad," said Karasik.

Georgy Mirsky, a senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Gazeta.ru that Saudi Arabia cannot take either a pro-American or pro-Russian position, lest it be accused of betraying the cause of Islam. In general, changes in Saudi Arabia in connection with the arrival of the new generation are possible, but they will be very slow, he believes. 

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