Islamic Jihad in Russia
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent – THE SEOUL TIMES
THE MODERN TOKYO TIMES
|Russian Foreign Minister
The Russian Federation is multi-ethnic and multi-religious but several areas of the Russian Federation are blighted by international terrorism, internal ethnic fault-lines, local terrorism, and regional political issues which are hindering real progress.
This most notably applies to the Caucasus region and areas like Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia which are overwhelmingly Muslim. However, other regions have become engulfed by the threat of terrorism and in North Ossetia, which is mainly Christian; you had the Beslan hostage crisis in 2004 when Chechen insurgents and others seized control of a school. This led to the deaths of 335 civilians, the majority of victims being young children who were used by radical Sunni Islamists without any compassion or care for the loss of their blood.
Attacks have also happened within the heartland of the Russian Federation and the latest terrorist attack is a reminder that terrorism is a threat in not only the Caucasus and surrounding region; but it can strike at any time throughout the Russian Federation.
Past terrorist attacks have happened in Kabardino-Balkaria in 2005 when Islamists attacked government buildings in Nalchik and this led to the deaths of around 80 people. In 2004 you had Beslan and the sight of radical Sunni Islamists abusing and terrifying innocent children after taking over a school.
Also, in 2004 a terrorist attack outside a Moscow subway station led to the deaths of ten people after a female suicide bomber killed innocents in the name of Islam. The year 2004 was particularly bloody because terrorists were also responsible for the downing of two Russian passenger planes (female Chechen suicide bombers were blamed); Islamic insurgents also attacked Nazran in Ingushetia and roughly 100 Ingushetian Interior Ministry troops were killed; and many other acts of terrorism took place including the assassination of Chechen President Akhmed-hadj Kadyrov and a suicide attack against a subway train in Moscow which killed at least 40 people.
Other more prominent attacks apply to a suicide bomber killing 5 people within the easy reach of the Kremlin in Moscow in 2003. In the same year a passenger train was blown up between Kislovodsk and Mineralnve which led to the deaths of at least 40 people in southern Russia; a military hospital in Mozdok, North Ossetia, was also blown up by a suicide bomber which resulted in the deaths of at least 50 people; and two female Chechen suicide bombers killed 15 people during a rock festival at Moscow’s Tushino airfield.
Countless other terrorist attacks have happened and around 129 hostages in Moscow’s Dubrovka Theatre were killed in 2002. These terrorist attacks, and so many others which I have not mentioned throughout the Russian Federation, highlight that no region is out-of-reach because Chechens and Islamists have taken their deadly carnage to many places.
In recent times it appeared that the situation had been contained to limited areas within the Caucasus region and that the worse was over. This does not imply that the threat of terrorism had completely gone away because this was never the case. However, compared with the situation in the 1990s and up until 2005 when you had countless terrorist attacks; then it did appear that the security forces alongside regional interior troops were gaining the upper hand.
However, the latest terrorist attack which killed at least 38 people is a stark reminder that terrorism, radical Islam, and ethnic nationalism, is still a potent force within the Russian Federation.
It is noticeable, however, that Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, hinted (March 29, 2010) that the subway explosions may have their roots and links to the Islamic insurgency along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Lavrov stated that “We all know that the Afghan-Pakistani border, in the so-called no-man’s land, the terrorist underground is very well entrenched.” He continued by stating that “We know that many people there actively plot attacks, not just in Afghanistan, but also in other countries. Sometimes the trails lead to the Caucasus. “
Interestingly, B.Raman (Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi) also links the current crisis to a broader area and B. Raman is an expert in this field.
B. Raman states that “Western skepticism about the Russian evidence regarding the links of the Chechen terrorists with Al Qaeda has been coming in the way of strong action against the Chechen terrorists operating from Pakistani sanctuaries with Saudi money. This skepticism can be compared to the US skepticism over Indian evidence regarding the international dimensions of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and its links with Al Qaeda. Only after the LET killed six US nationals in Mumbai during its sea-borne terrorist strikes in the last week of November, 2008, did the Americans start admitting that the LET had become as dangerous as Al Qaeda. The Chechen terrorists have till now not targeted US nationals and interests. Hence, the US skepticism continues. This is a short-sighted approach and will weaken the war against global jihadi terrorism. The LET did not target Americans till November, 2008. That did not make it any the less dangerous as a terrorist organization. The Chechen terrorists are as ruthless and dangerous as the LET or any other associate of Al Qaeda. The world has to be concerned over their activities before it becomes too late.” ( 31-3-2010)
Vojin Joksimovich, the author of The Revenge of the Prophet, states that “In order for the Western world to counter, and conceivably eradicate, the onslaught of Islamic terrorism, the root causes must be addressed.”
However, according to Vojin Joksimovich, “this has not been the case” and he continues by stating that “The most pressing underlying root cause is the Saudi Wahhabi-led petrodollar hegemony over the Islamic world.”
Vojin Joksimovich is clearly highlighting the funding channels which are enabling radical Islam to obtain a major foothold in many conflicts throughout the world and to create radical Islamic cells in any given nation because of ample funding.
He continues by stating that “The Wahhabis, or Wahhabists, make use of these windfall profits primarily for proselytism purposes. However, a modest percentage goes to the terrorist arm of the Wahhabi movement, i.e. Al Qaeda and other similar terrorist organizations in the Islamic world. It is imperative to starve these terrorist organizations of financial resources and recruits.”
The latest terrorist attack in the Russian Federation may lead straight back to the Chechen conflict and hatred which developed during this bloody conflict.
However, it is also clear that international jihadists, finance via the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, Islamic cells in various parts of the world, training grounds along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the spread of radical Islam to the Caucasus and other parts of the world is also the root cause.
Therefore, the Russian Federation must once more do a lot of soul searching but clearly Islamic financial funding for terrorism, the international jihadist brigade, and other factors; fused with genuine internal ethnic issues in many host nations, means that this issue is very complex .
The very nature of Islam itself must be studied because this religion does appear to nurture and sanction the holy war throughout the Koran and the Hadiths.
After all, Mohammed did state in the Koran (9:29) “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the last day……and fight People of the Book, who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute by hand, being inferior.”
LEE JAY WALKER