The recent terrorist bombing of the Saint Petersburg, Russia subway, unless it is a false flag operation being carried out by Vladimir Putin to counter demonstrations against his corrupt rule, may be the start of a new jihadist campaign against the Russian Federation. According to Politico. Russia has been fighting Islamic insurgents in Chechnya and Dagestan for decades. Now that country’s intervention in Syria on behalf of Bashir Assad has enraged both Al Qaeda and ISIS and has fixed their attention on Moscow.

While Putin can certainly use an external threat to blunt criticism of his regime, too much of a threat would destabilize Russia and undermine his rule.

A lot of the Chechnyan insurgents who had been such a headache ever since the fall of the Soviet Union had departed to fight for the Islamic State. Putin encouraged this, the theory being that they would be killed in the Middle East and would not return to be a threat to the peace of Mother Russia. But a few sneaking back into Russia as the Islamic State falls would, especially combined with a new generation of homegrown jihadis, give the men of the Kremlin plenty of sleepless nights.

Putin can be counted upon to be ruthless is dealing with any upsurge in jihadism inside Russia. He has little regard for the civil liberties of anyone who proposes to kill Russian citizens and destroy Russian property for the glory of Allah.

The ensuing war is likely to be very bloody and dirty.

Having Putin entangled in a jihadi threat would mesh very neatly with Trump administration foreign policy goals. Trump would like to cultivate Russia as an ally in the War on Terror. That desire is complicated by Putin’s imperial ambitions in the Ukraine and his threats against NATO.

Moscow might pull back on those efforts if it needs American help to combat a threat against the Russian Motherland.

Putin probably wins by tamping down on his domestic opposition with the external threat. Trump wins by making Russia an ally rather than a problem. ISIS and Al Qaeda continues as before, murdering people for the sake of jihad.