What Was Radical Islam's Role in Beslan?

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That's the question Adrian Karatnycky asks in an interesting, probing piece in the Wall Street Journal. He writes that "Chechnya's broader separatist movement…is not made up of extremist Islamists" but that "the Chechen war and widening attacks throughout the northern Caucasus are a magnet for extremist Muslims from around the world."

Whole thing here. Karatnycky's article suggests that the situation in Chechyna is extremely complicated and little insight will be gained by writing off that country's independence movement simply as another front for Islamists (something Putin is ready to do, as it will give him more latitude to prosecute what is already recognized as a brutal intervention there).

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  1. “I believe Putin is dangling full cooperation (Iraq troops, etc.) in the WOT in front of Bush in exchange for diplomatic carte blanche from the US to label the separatists as islamic radicals.”

    The Russians didn’t need our blessing to dispose of the 80,000 Chechen civilians they’ve already killed, why would they give up anything to get our blessing now?

    This begs the question, of course?

    Life for the average Chechen civilian is already pretty bad under Russian occupation. While I?m aware that, theoretically, things could be worse, how effectively can Putin crackdown on Chechnya? Aren?t they already under a crackdown? And how?s that hard-line policy of Putin?s working out? And it is Putin?s policy. I?ve seen a lot of Russians complaining about the way the hostage crisis was handled, is there any indication that there are Russians who are questioning the wisdom of Putin?s Chechnya policy?

    ?I do remember seeing Americans question the wisdom of our foreign policy in the wake of September 11.

    We?ve forgotten some of the lessons we learned in Vietnam, so it shouldn?t surprise me that Russia hasn?t retained much of what they learned in Afghanistan too. These kinds of policies must be good for someone though; I suppose it could be argued that being tough on ethnic groups associated with terrorists in the minds of the electorate can work out pretty well for a Chief Executive. Still, I?d bet that Putin would trade his pinky for a working exit strategy.

    ?I?d bet that Bush would too.

  2. “True, but little insight will be gained by ingoring the extent to which Islamists are coopting the independence movement, as well.

    So what is the goal Islamists who embrace the Chechen cause? Is it Russia’s unwavering support of Israel? Are they trying to get Russian troops out of Saudi Arabia? Are they trying to discourage Russia’s support of corrupt and brutal regimes throughout the Arab world?

  3. R.C. Dean,

    True, but little insight will be gained by ingoring the extent to which Islamists are coopting the independence movement, as well.

    No one has argued that we should ignore their presence there.

  4. Ken-

    I believe that the Islamists are angry at Russia for its treatment of Muslims in Chechnya.

  5. I think you’re right Thoreau. …and to whatever extent Islamists are involved in fighting the occupation of Chechnya is the extent to which the conflict in Chechnya is complicated…

    …although some people don’t seem to think it’s complicated at all. Have you guys checked out this thread?

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006683.shtml

  6. “But whose to say that if Kerry is elected my kid’s school won’t be next?”

    Are you serious?

  7. Seditious traitor that I am, I’m going to suggest that the Chechens have as much of a right to independence.

    It would seem that they’ve forfieted it many times over, killing children and all. And those responsible deserve to be punished.

    But ordinary Chechens are are suffering something very close to an existential threat, and the actions of a few, or even many, abhorrent assholes doesn’t change that.

    The Russians need to bite the bullet and get the hell out.

  8. andy,

    No, they’re not serious. The sarcasm level around here gets knee deep sometimes. You better bring some boots!

  9. Is Dubya “Rash-putin’s” Prince Bandar?

  10. I believe Putin is dangling full cooperation (Iraq troops, etc.) in the WOT in front of Bush in exchange for diplomatic carte blanche from the US to label the separatists as islamic radicals.

    From the strict realist perspective, hopefully Bush remembers Putin’s sellout in the runup to Iraq and does not take this bait.

  11. Nick, Nick, Nick… [shakes head sadly] obviously you hate America. Only someone who’s objectively pro-terrorist would suggest that people should learn about the history of a conflict before making judgments about. Plus, per Shannon, you have blood on your hands since you’ve linked to a story that describes political movements and their goals.

  12. But whose to say that if Kerry is elected my kid’s school won’t be next?

  13. If the Russians don’t vote to re-elect a former KGB officer then the terrorists will win.

  14. Thoreau:

    “If the Russians don’t vote to re-elect a former KGB officer then the terrorists will win.”

    You’re entirely correct comrade.

    STALIN was the only individual capable of “bringing the fight” to Chechen terrorists.

    According to Conquest’s HARVEST OF SORROW, he simply uprooted EVERY Chechen man, woman, and child and force marched them all to the Siberian Arctic.

    In light of this historical contribution to the WOT, I think the Soviets deserve an apology for the cold war—or we’ll be “appeasing the terrorists.”

  15. little insight will be gained by writing off that country’s independence movement simply as another front for Islamists

    True, but little insight will be gained by ingoring the extent to which Islamists are coopting the independence movement, as well.

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