Sunday, April 21, 2013

Skirting Around The Issue

Chechnya's centuries-long bloody strife goes global

This one dwells on Chechnya's fixation with separation from Russia. Buried at the bottom is the following:
"This conflict is ethnic and political, but it has a religious overlay. Chechens are Muslim, and some share the belief that the west is engaged in a global campaign against Islam. They have decided that their response should also be global. George Bush's global "war on terror" has found its corollary: a globalised campaign of terror."
Nice swipe at the victim. Yet it offers no evidence to link the Boston bombers directly to this "globallised campaign of terror." It merely serves as an avenue through which the leftist Guardian can take a swipe at George Bush.

Chechnya’s History of Violence: Did It Influence the Tsarnaev Brothers?

This one mentions Islam, ties to the Taliban, and so on, but dwells mostly on the Chechen region's conflict with Russia. But, bingo!! It actually hints at the possibility that the Boston bombers may have been influenced by radical Islam:
"...young men in the North Caucasus have started to turn away from the region’s long-standing tradition of Sufi Islam in favor of the more puritanical Salafi creed imported from the Middle East. Judging from Tamerlan’s YouTube feed, the Tsarnaev brothers may have subscribed to Salafist dogma, which could suggest that their apparent campaign of violence this week in the Boston area had a jihadist motive."
"The brutality of the Russian campaigns turned what was a largely secular struggle into a pan-Islamist cause. Arab fighters flocked to the Chechen banner. Certain Chechen warlords cultivated links with jihadist groups, including al-Qaeda. Some reports suggest that Chechen fighters later joined the ranks of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as radical militant groups fighting against Indian rule of Kashmir. There’s evidence that Chechen fighters are also on the ground in Syria. But others contend that the extent of the Chechen presence in many of these conflicts is overstated. Military analysts often tag foreign fighters as “Chechen” even when they’re from other corners of the former Soviet Union.

Despite Russia’s ruthless efforts to quash rebellion, a low-level insurgency still simmers in Chechnya and the neighboring Russian republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia. Chechen militants have exacted a heavy price over the years. In 2002, Chechen gunmen seized the Dubrovka theater in Moscow, taking hundreds hostage. The Russian commando raid that followed led to more than 120 deaths. In 2004, alleged Chechen and Inghush fighters captured a school in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia. The resulting three-day hostage crisis ended with the deaths of nearly 400 people, many of whom were children. In 2010, two female suicide bombers detonated themselves in a Moscow subway station, killing 39.
Again, plenty of blame laid at the feet of Russia, yet, although it mentions that Chechnya is a Muslim land, nothing is said about the role of Islam in the formation of Chechnya's violent past, although this is kinda interesting:
"Chechnya is one of eight mainly Muslim ethnic republics that sprawl across the northern face of the Caucasus Mountains – which contain some of Europe's highest peaks – between the Black and Caspian Seas. The region is a patchwork of separate nationalities, speaking wildly different tongues, who have a history of intense animosity between each other that's eclipsed only by their historic tensions with Russia." [Emphasis mine]
 Chechnya: How a remote Russian republic became linked with terrorism
"In their long, violent struggle against the Kremlin, Chechen radicals have hit soft targets before. In 2010, two female suicide bombers from Dagestan blew up the Moscow metro, killing at least 40 people and injuring 100. A year later, another suicide bomber struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport, killing 37 and wounding 180. Other murderous attacks include one on a Beslan school in 2004, where 334 hostages died, most of them children.

But the Boston Marathon bombing, which police suspect was perpetrated by two Chechen brothers, Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are something altogether new. It is so far unclear how significant is the trail that appears to lead from the simmering ongoing insurgency in the mountains of the North Caucasus to the boulevards and suburban houses of North America.

After 18 years, two wars and the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, the conflict in Chechnya, and Russia's southern backyard more generally, has changed. From 1994 to 1996, Boris Yeltsin fought a war against mainly secular Chechen separatists who wanted, like other ethnic republics after the USSR collapsed, their own nationalist and constitutional state. From 1999 to 2004, Vladimir Putin – Yeltsin's steely successor – fought a second Chechen war. The aim was to definitively crush Chechen separatism.

In recent years, however, the Kremlin and its regional proxies have been battling a different kind of enemy. This new generation of insurgents has an explicitly Islamist goal: seeking to create a radical pan-Caucasian emirate ruled by Islamic law, like Afghanistan under the Taliban. The movement's leader, Doku Umarov, unveiled this ambitious vision in 2007. He vowed to "liberate" not only Russia's Muslim north Caucasus but a large chunk of European Russia.

Umarov also suggested that devout Muslims should think internationally.

His comments, later softened, said: "Today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Palestine our brothers are fighting. Everyone who attacks Muslims wherever they are, are our enemies, common enemies. Our enemy is not Russia only, but everyone who wages war against Islam and Muslims.""

It's Islam, stupid, not Russia, and certainly not America.

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