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Alastair Crooke: ISIS-K as ‘Sole Actor’ at Crocus May Be Thin Cover for the West

The Crocus bombing in Mosow. CC/Tasmin News Agency

April 2, 2024 (EIRNS)—Alastair Crooke, director of the Lebanon-based Conflicts Forum and former senior British diplomat, in a March 28 article for Al Mayadeen, “The Crocus City Concert Hall Atrocity: No Going Back,” questions whether, within hours of the Crocus City concert hall massacre March 22, both the European Union and the United States could assure the world with certainty that Ukraine was not involved—even without an investigation.

“Why is it that the EU and the U.S. are so adamant,” Crooke begins his article, “about who is behind the Crocus Concert Hall atrocity, that they will not wait out the investigation? Within 55 minutes of the attack, the U.S. spokesperson said, ‘Ukraine wasn’t involved’. Now the U.S. is saying—definitively—that only ISIS was involved.

“Why are Western states so certain? It is most unusual for intelligence services to pronounce within the hour. Though the actual perpetrators are now known, the key question remains: Who stands behind the attack? Things are not always as they seem.”

Crooke discloses that the ISIS-Khorasan, to which the British, U.S., and Europe have attributed the March 22 attack outside Moscow exclusively, “has been operating for some years, more as a ‘rat-run’ extending from Türkiye to Syria; to Afghanistan and Iran. It is a franchise on behalf of which terrorist acts are committed, funds raised, and resources prepared.” He adds, “Behind ISIS have stood certain Muslim states—and their Western backers.”

Crooke disrobes the case that those who implemented the killing in Moscow of 144 Russian citizens, are actually ideological ISIS followers: “The details of the arrested perpetrators and their mode of operation, however, does not comport with the notion of their being ideological supporters of ISIS. They may have ostensibly been broadly Islamist, but were in reality mercenaries motivated by the lure of money. ISIS recruits expect and get martyrdom. These men simply jumped in a car, wanting to escape. In an ISIS operation, they would have continued the massacre—until shot dead.” Crooke served for several decades in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), carrying out sensitive operations, and knows how these operations are done.

Crooke sees the Moscow slaughter as arising from the West’s increased shift toward use of asymmetric warfare. He asserts, “When it became evident that Ukraine’s conventional military efforts were a flop, a number of hawks in the U.S. and Europe quickly swung to singing the praises of asymmetric warfare—on Russia and its civilian population, itself.

“This asymmetry began slowly: a few random drone attacks that did little damage. This then accelerated to missiles fired into the centers of Belgorod killing civilians; then it became an attack on a Russian transport Ilyushin plane transporting prisoners; and then moved to drone attacks on Russian refineries and naval drone war on Crimea.”

Crooke concludes, “It is unproven yet, but the fear haunting the West must be that either directly, or even very indirectly, it will emerge that they may find themselves complicit in mass terrorism—sheltering under an ISIS-K franchise.”