by Molly McKew
"Second, Russia provides material support to ISIS to manipulate the war. Credible reporting from Russia suggests that Russian security forces helped recruit for ISIS, which now has thousands of Russian-speaking jihadis in its ranks. The arrival of the first group of several hundred Russian-speaking fighters was a key turning point in the Syrian war — turning the war away from Assad and toward Iraq. The largest current source of ISIS revenue, according to US and European officials, is from selling oil to Assad — and Assad cannot act without Russian approval. ISIS requires Russian ammunition to fight, readily acquires it from stocks sent to Assad, and seems to find fortuitous resupply when necessary.
Third, Russia has not been directly fighting ISIS. Russia has dropped three times more bombs than the US coalition, but only a fraction have hit ISIS targets. Instead, Russia has been using ISIS as a convenient excuse to remove threats to Assad, destabilize Iraq (and prove the weakness of American power by doing so), unleash Iran, consolidate its hold on the region, and deploy military hardware and architecture around the edges of NATO."