What is the difference between the new Gerasimov Doctrine and the al Qaeda Doctrine?

Valery Gerasimov. Source Wikipedia

Valery Gerasimov, the long-serving (since 2012) Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, has recently also been appointed by Putin as the commander of military aggression against Ukraine.

Anyone who is interested knows what the “Gerasimov Doctrine” is: it is the Russian doctrine of hybrid warfare associated with Gerasimov’s name, which was used when the Russian army occupied Crimea and parts of the Donbas in 2014.

It was only after Gerasimov took direct command of Russia’s military actions in Ukraine that we saw the “New Gerasimov Doctrine”: a long-range missile hit a multi-storey residential building in Dnipro. 35 (if not more) dead, dozens wounded. The missile was fired from a Russian bomber flying safely over Russian territory near Kursk.

The “New Gerasimov doctrine” means targeting residential buildings with long-range missiles: if the Ukrainian army cannot be defeated on the front line, if Ukraine’s determination is not deterred by Russian missile attacks aimed at destroying the energy infrastructure, then residential buildings must be targeted. According to all the definitions of international terrorism introduced by the United Nations, the “New Gerasimov Doctrine” is a pure form of terrorism. The European Parliament has also stated this.

This “New Gerasimov Doctrine” brings to mind the “Al Qaeda Doctrine”, which was implemented by this terrorist organisation on 11 September 2001, when two hijacked Boeing passenger planes attacked and destroyed the two Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. As a result, thousands of civilians were killed.

The two doctrines are identical in their means: mass killing of civilians using anything – long-range missiles, hijacked passenger planes, the bombing of buildings. The aim is also to break the political will and impose their dictates on states, nations, and communities. And at the same time, to mobilise their terrorist community, as if saying that they are not afraid to take any measures, they do not care about human lives and the condemnation of the international community because they allegedly are “tough”.

Although the two doctrines are identical, the Western reaction to their implementation has so far been incomparably different. This is the biggest difference between the “New Gerasimov Doctrine” and the “Al-Qaeda Doctrine”: the West has not yet dared to react to the terrorist Gerasimov Doctrine in the same way it has reacted to the implementation of the terrorist Al-Qaeda Doctrine.

After the terrorist attack of 11 September, at the initiative of the US, the NATO community invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty for the first time, and all NATO countries agreed to use their military power to crush Al-Qaeda. Because everyone was well aware that terrorism does not respect national borders. The US-led military coalition invaded Afghanistan, which hosted Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda leaders were hunted around the world by Western special services until Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, was finally eliminated.

Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to fight alone against Russian state terrorism, which is being carried out by all kinds of Wagner proxy militias and the Russian army’s air and missile forces led by Gerasimov. Although such Russian “state” military terrorism in Ukraine is no less dangerous than that of Al Qaeda, for the time being, NATO has no plans to invoke Article 5 to stop Russian terrorism.

And although the West has recently promised to increase the supply of arms to Ukraine, this still does not compare with the Western reaction demonstrated after the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

Why is there such a difference in the West’s reaction to two identical doctrines of international terrorism? Many factors could be listed, starting with the fact that Russia has nuclear weapons, which it keeps threatening to use. This frightens and inhibits the West.

However, I believe that the main factor in this difference was, and is, the fact that Al-Qaeda attacked and bombed buildings and people in Western capitals or cities, while Putin and Gerasimov are bombing residential buildings in Ukraine, not in the West. So far.

It is no longer necessary to repeat again and again about.

“Disease of childish naivety” of the West in its relations and attitudes towards Putin’s Russia. It is only worth warning that for Putin to go from threatening to use nuclear weapons to actually carrying out terrorist actions in Western capitals is “child’s play”. There are all sorts of prigozhins and kadyrovs for that. And gerasimovs as well.

Terrorism is something that needs to be dealt with in a preventive manner, not just when the same people who are now terrorising the people of Ukraine will start terrorising Western capitals.

The fight against Al Qaeda began with its inclusion on every possible list of terrorist organisations: those of the European Union and the United States, the United Nations Security Council and NATO.

The European Parliament has called for the same to be done with the main Russian terrorist military organisations, starting with the Wagner proxy group. After the latest attack on the Dnipro apartment building, it is clear that it is necessary to add the Russian Aerospace Forces to this list. All of them, not excluding generals, pilots or sergeants. Because their actions are no different from those of the Al Qaeda terrorists: at the time, some were masterminds, and others were hijackers or pilots of the hijacked planes. Now it is the same: some of them are masterminds, and others fly planes or fire missiles. The result is the same: deliberate terrorism.

Although the European Parliament has called for Russian terrorist organisations (including military forces) to be added to the current European Union list of terrorist organisations, there is still no sign that the EU institutions would be planning to do so in the near future. Under the current procedure, such a list is supplemented by new terrorist organisations if proposed by any EU Member State and agreed upon by all others.

Therefore, today, after the shocking tragedy in Dnipro, when everyone has already expressed their indignation, solidarity and sympathy, it is worth asking a simple question: will there be a single country, government, Parliament or President among the EU Member States who will dare to request that the European list of terrorist organisations be supplemented in the near future by Russian military structures? Starting with the Wagner Group.

Statements of outrage alone will not defeat Russian terrorism. The tragedy of Dnipro also weighs heavily on our conscience, on the conscience of the West as a whole: not only is no one considering invoking Article 5 of the NATO Charter against the “Russian” form of international terrorism, but not only is Ukraine not receiving sufficient Western support in terms of weapons to be able to put an end to such terrorism on its own without delay, but we do not even dare to add new Russian names to our list of terrorist organisations.

Why? Are we hoping that Gerasimov’s terrorism will stop at the border between Ukraine and the West?

I am afraid that we are sorely mistaken. Because we still do not realise that there is no difference between the “New Gerasimov Doctrine” and the “Al-Qaeda Doctrine”. Just as there is no difference between terrorism being carried out in Ukrainian cities or in Western capitals.

EPP Lithuanian office
EPP Lithuanian Office
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