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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Terror in Russia

I haven't written about the recent terror events in Russia, the two planes being bombed or the subway explosion yesterday. Today, more bad news:

Armed attackers have seized a school in southern Russia and ITAR-TASS news agency reports as many as 400 people are being held hostage -- half of them children. Some of the more than a dozen hostage-takers in the town of Beslan in North Ossetia are reportedly wearing explosives belts used in suicide bombings.
First, I want to say that I deplore these tactics in general and this, horrendous attack on a school in particular. This is barbarism, plain and simple. I haven't written much on Russia because I don't know a whole lot about the Chechen situation. I know that the Chechen rebels have ties to Al-Qaida and that they want separation from Russia. I also know that they have wide support in the region. Russia has also brutally repressed this rebellion, and probably fueled it, with some pretty nasty attacks of the Chechen people. Anyone who thinks we have been too soft on rebels in Iraq can look to Chechnya as a map of how well the other way works. One of the problems with Chechnya is that it confers some degree of legitimacy on Al-Qaida. The Chechens probably do have honest grievances with the Russian government and it seems likely that elections have not been conducted in a fair manner to redress this problem. Obviously out gunned, if Chechen aspirations are to be satisfied they will have to conduct asymmetrical warfare or hope that peaceful protests will solve their problems. Peaceful protests have a mixed history, while they worked for Ghandi against the British, they failed miserably against the Chinese in Tieneman Square. I don't know that they would do much better against the Russian Government. My point here, is that Chechnya will give legitimacy to terror groups in the Arab World (and to some extent the Western World as well). Their current barbaric tactic may lessen that somewhat, but underneath it all, if they have real grievances and there is real injustice that needs to be corrected we must find a way to solve this problem. To complicate matters, this must be done in a fashion that is not seen as a reward, or a capitulation to terror or the terror tactics will be seen to be effective. The problem is a Gordian knot, but I am not sure that Alexander's solution is correct here.


Blogger Random Gemini said...

I can see this situation rapidly becoming something akin to the situation in Gaza.

What needs to happen here, is for Putin to let go of Chechnya. Putin pretty much needs to get over himself, let the last vestiges of the Soviet Union crumble.. and leave the Chechen people alone...

Is he going to do that? No. Likely it will be the Russian equivalent of Sharon (presuming Sharon succeeds in bringing peace between Palestinians and Israel) fifty or sixty years in the future.

It's a repeat of the same damned thing..

9/01/2004 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I agree that their are some similarities between Palestine and Chechnya.

There are differences as well. Chechnya is a rebelious province, not an occupied territory.

I don't know much about the original Chechan disagreements with Russia. I don't know how valid they were.

The problem with both is that you have to craft a solution that is fair, but also one that does not give in to terror. I don't know that there are any easy answers.

9/01/2004 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have it backwards.

I used to have sympathy for the Chechens. Thanks to their tactics, I no longer have much sympathy for them.

Nothing excuses their kind of terrorism.

9/02/2004 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

this is a post i composed about Georgia which is close to Chechnya, while it has nothing to do with Chechnya, it does give some back group on the history of how Russia handled the areas they took over.


if you went to study Chechnya you would proably find a familier pattern between South Ossetia, Chechnya , and Abakijian (i misspelled the last one), and maybe see why tension are erupting now.

I am too for letting chechnay (can any one say IRA)

9/02/2004 06:55:00 AM  

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