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Russia's conflict with ISIS, the argument goes, has aligned Moscow's interests with those of the West.At first blush, the idea that Russia is a natural ally against Islamist terrorists seems to make sense.Around 20 million Muslims, most of them Sunni, live within the Russian Federation, and the country's security officials report that some 7,000 fighters from the ex-Soviet republics and Russia have joined ISIS.On deeper examination, however, it becomes clear that an anti-terror alliance with Russia is wishful thinking. Putin has not gone into Syria to defeat ISIS. He has intervened to save the regime of Russia's client, Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia has indeed suffered a number of terrorist attacks, including the 2004 Beslan massacre, in which 334 people, most of them schoolchildren, were killed.Putin's confidence in dealing with terrorism reflects the design of Russia's security state.
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