Chechnya Blowback: West gets what it paid for

The West needs Russia in the fight against radical Islam, but at the same time it wants Russia to be exhausted. Source: ITAR-TASS

The West needs Russia in the fight against radical Islam, but at the same time it wants Russia to be exhausted. Source: ITAR-TASS

When you make a Faustian Bargain, there always comes a time to pay up, as the United States and its sidekicks are finding out.

Here’s a quick quiz. Where are the largest concentrations of Chechen terrorists located? No, they are not in the countries the West has classified as terrorist nations – Iran, Syria or North Korea. Here’s the definitive list of the leading supporters and backers of Chechen extremists:

Turkey: NATO member; Britain: NATO member; Germany: NATO member; Georgia: Aspiring NATO member; Qatar: Hosts US military bases; Azerbaijan: Works closely with the United States and Britain. You get the picture. With friends like these, the Americans don’t really need enemies.

Our SOBs

Parker Brothers, which manufactures Monopoly, should introduce one rule change – chuck the get-out-of-jail-free card. For, Americans who have grown up playing the famous board game are indiscriminately using that rule in real life as well.

US President Franklin Roosevelt most famously played that card when he said about Nicaragua’s vicious dictator Anastasio Somoza: “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.” The statement remains apocryphal but what is true is that as long as the bad guys don’t trouble the West, they are presented a get-out-of-jail-free card.

As Boston proved, that’s a big mistake.

Americans for Chechnya

The West’s commitment to the war on terror flags when it comes to Chechnya. The way they see it, there is no way the Chechens will attack the people who offer them safe havens. And as far as American neoconservatives are concerned, what hurts Russia is business as usual. “If anything the US has expressed a little bit of sympathy for them (Chechens),” former mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani told Bloomberg.

This attitude towards Russia is explained by the fact that in the United States the leading group which peddles the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). This Orwellian-sounding group is based at Freedom House, a Russophobic think tank which has been accused of creating instability in Iran, among other places. (Interestingly, Freedom House’s website describes Russia as “Not Free” while Pakistan is “Partly Free”.)

The membership of ACPC cuts across the American political divide. The group, therefore, plays a key role in US foreign policy, especially on the Caucasus. The hypocrisy of its stance on Chechnya is blatant – while the West has deployed overwhelming military force against its own enemies, it demands that Russia capitulate to a bunch of terrorists.

The older of the Boston bombers attended “seminars” organised in Georgia in the summer of 2012 by the so-called “Caucasus Foundation” in collaboration with the Jamestown Foundation, which Moscow has repeatedly accused of encouraging anti-Russian activities.

The Caucasus Foundation was set up after the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia to recruit youth from the Caucasus and create instability in Russia’s southern underbelly. Georgia was one of the countries where they were trained in staging terrorist acts.

The Chechen bombers are, therefore, the natural by-product of Western strategy in the Caucasus.

Grand designs

The neoconservatives’ dreams spring from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard in which he has put forward a provocative geostrategic vision for the United States in Europe and Asia. Brzezinski, advisor to past US presidents, says the key to achieving American preeminence is neutralising Russia.

Not everyone is certain the plan will work. For instance, the arch-conservative Council on Foreign Relations recoils at such a strategy. Says its mouthpiece magazine Foreign Affairs: “Brzezinski’s test of what constitutes legitimate Russian interests is so stringent that even a democratic Russia is likely to fail it. Russia, in effect, is to be accorded the geopolitical equivalent of basketball's full court press (whereas China, by contrast, merits the geopolitical equivalent of football's prevent defence).”

Body count piles up

According to The Guardian, the widespread use of the word "rebels" in the Western media to describe Chechen terrorists who shoot children shows a “surprising indulgence in the face of extreme brutality”.

In September 2004, Chechen terrorists took 1200 people, mostly children, hostage in a school in Beslan in the Russian province of North Ossetia. During the three-day standoff the hostages were deprived of food and water. When Russian commandos stormed the building they found the children crazed with thirst, drinking their own urine. Over 330 children were massacred by the Chechen terrorists.

As the Russians see it, they are fighting a common enemy – Islamic terrorists – and the West is not just indifferent, it is providing sanctuaries to those who murder Russian children.

In fact, after 9/11 the Russians had formed a similar impression when they cooperated with American efforts in Afghanistan. Not only did Moscow provide key intelligence about the Afghan rebels, it green lighted the Central Asian supply line that helps NATO stay in business in Afghanistan. The reward for Russia’s assistance – NATO’s eastward expansion and intrigue in Central Asia.

Western duplicity is, therefore, deepening the historic divide between Russia and the West.

Heat is on

At the same time Moscow is prepared to fight its battles alone – as it often has. In 2006, Vladimir Putin got a law passed that allows Russian intelligence agencies and special forces to kill terrorists abroad, just as George W. Bush had done a few years earlier. The upshot – Chechen commanders are ending up dead in all kinds of places – Qatar, Azerbaijan, the southern Caucasus and Turkey. In Berlin, Russian intelligence agents are stalking hundreds of Chechen exiles.

Der Spiegel reports when members of the Russian diplomatic corps were arrested in connection with a murder in Qatar, Putin himself reached for the phone to secure their release.

The heat on the Chechen terrorists has increased to the degree that Akhmed Zakayev, a prominent Chechen terrorist holed up in Britain, laments that the Boston bombings are a gift for Putin. For once in his nasty life, he could be right. One result of the bombings and the FBI’s ignoring of the Russian warnings, is closer public scrutiny over Western government backing of terrorists – even if they are “our SOBs”.

Endgame

The West needs Russia in the fight against radical Islam, but at the same time it wants Russia to be exhausted. Clearly, nothing has changed since the finals years of WW II when the United States and Britain delayed opening a second front, in the hope that Germany and Russia would finish each other off.

Hope, however, is always a terrible substitute for policy.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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