KMNews Commentary – 2004-09-10 23:16:31
MOSCOW (September 7, 2004) — “SCHOOL SEIZURE WAS PLANNED IN WASHINGTON AND LONDON.” Under this headline, the Russians news agency KMNews.ru today carries an unsigned commentary, laying the blame for the Beslan events at the doorstep of US and British agencies, in rather explicit terms.
Its point of departure is that Shamil Basayev, the brutal Chechen field commander, has been linked to the attack (something that Putin advisor Aslambek Aslakhanov yesterday said was known to the Russian FSB).
The article plays up the recent rapprochement of London and Washington with key representatives of Aslan Maskhadov: Britain’s giving asylum to Akhmad Zakayev (December 2003) and the USA doing the same for Ilyas Akhmadov (August 2004).
“In early August, … ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic-Ichkeria’ Ilyas Akhmadov received political asylum in the USA. And for his ‘outstanding services,’ Akhmadov received a Reagan-Fascell grant, including a monthly stipend, medical insurance, and a well-equipped office with all the support services that might be needed, including the possibility of meetings with people from political circles and leading US media….
“What about our partners in the ‘anti-terrorist coalition,’ who provided asylum, offices and money to Maskhadov’s representatives?”
Citing the official expressions of sympathy and offers of help from President Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, KMNews continues: “But let’s not shed tears of gratitude just yet. First we should ask: were ‘Special Representative of the President of CRI’ Zakayev or ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the CRI’ Akhmadov, located in Great Britain and the USA, aware of the terrorist acts that were in preparation? Beyond a doubt — as the French say, noblesse oblige: their position required it.
“And let’s also find out, how Akhmadov is spending the money provided by the Reagan-Fascell Foundation. We note: this Foundation is financed by the US Congress through the budget of the State Department!
“Thus, the conclusion is obvious: Willingly or not, Downing Street and the White House provoked the guerrillas to these latest attacks. Willingly or not, Great Britain and the USA have nurtured the separatists with material, information and diplomatic resources. Willingly or not, the policy of London and Washington fostered the current terrorist acts.
“As the ancients said, cui bono? [Who benefits?] Perhaps we are too hasty with such sweeping accusations against our ‘friends’ and ‘partners’? Is there a motive for the Anglo-American ‘anti-terrorist coalition’ to fan the fires of terror in the North Caucasus?
“Alas, there is a motive. It is no secret that the West is vitally interested in maintaining instability in the Caucasus. That makes it easier to pump out the fossil fuels, extracted in the Caspian region, and it makes it easier to control Georgia and Azerbaijan, and to exert influence on Armenia. Finally, it makes it easier to drive Russia out of the Caspian and the Caucasus. Divide et impera! — the leaders of the Roman Empire already introduced this simple formula for subjugation.
“Alas, it must be recognized that the co-authors of the current tragic events are to be found not in the Arab countries of the Middle East, but on the banks of the Thames and the Potomac. Will the leadership of Russia be able to take decisions, in this situation?
“Yes — if there is the political will. The first thing, is that black must be called black, and white white. It is time to admit that no “antiterrorist coalition” exists — that the West is pursuing its egotistical interests (spreading its political influence, seizing fossil fuels deposits, etc.). Our own coalition needs to be formed, with nations that are genuinely interested in eliminating terror in the North Caucasus.
“Finally, it is time to change the entire tactics and strategy of counter-terrorism measures. It is obvious that catching female suicide bombers on the streets of Moscow or carrying out operations to free children who are taken hostage, are, so to speak, the ‘last line of defense.’ It is time to learn to make pre-emptive strikes against the enemy, and it’s time to carry combat onto the territory of the enemy. Otherwise, we shall be defeated.”
Putin Tells Journalists: ‘Certain Western Circles’ Want to ‘Weaken Russia.’
PARIS (September 7, 2004) — Le Monde gives extensive quotes from a 3.5-hour meeting, held Monday evening by Russian President Vladimir Putin with some 30 foreign journalists and Russian specialists at his Novo Ogarevo residence outside Moscow. The Kremlin has not released a transcript. The British Guardian and Independent also carried coverage.
“There is no link between Russian policy in Chechnya and the hostage-taking in Beslan,” reaffirmed the Russian President. According to Le Monde: “The aim of that international terrorism, supported more or less openly by foreign states, whose names the Russian president didn’t want to name, is to weaken Russia from the inside, by criminalizing its economy, by provoking its disintegration via propagating separatism in the Caucasus and the transformation of the region into a staging ground for actions directed against the Russian Federation.”
“Mr. Putin,” continues Le Monde, “reiterated the accusation he had launched in a veiled form against western countries which appear to use double-talk. On the one side, their leaders assure the Russian President of their solidarity in the fight against terrorism. On the other hand, the intelligence services and the military — “who have not abandoned their Cold War prejudices [quote from Putin] — entertain contacts with those the international press calls the `rebels.’
“Why are those who emulate Bin Laden called ‘terrorists’ and the people who kill children, ‘rebels’? Where is the logic?” asked Vladimir Putin, then providing the answer: “Because certain political circles in the West want to weaken Russia just like the Romans wanted to destroy Cartage.” But, continued Putin, `we will not allow this scenario to come to pass.'”
Continues Le Monde, “This is, according to him, a bad calculation because Russia is a factor of stability. By weakening it, the Cold War nostalgics act clearly against the interests of their country.” And, Putin continues: “We are the sincere champions of this cooperation [against terrorism]. We are open and loyal partners. But if foreign services have contacts with the `rebels,’ they cannot be as reliable allies, as Russia is for them.”
Russia Asks Extradition of Zakayev and Akhmadov
(September 7, 2004) — RIA Novosti reports a statement from the Russia Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information and Press (not available to be checked on the Ministry site), which indicates that Russia will put the United States and Britain on the spot about extraditing two top Chechen separatist officials, who have been given asylum in Washington and London, respectively.
They are Akhmed Zakayev, known as a “special representative” of Aslan Maskhadov (in London), and Ilyas Akhmadov, the “Foreign Minister” of the unrecognized “Chechen Republic-Ichkeria” (now in the USA).
RIA Novosti quotes the document as saying: “The relevant Russian agencies have never ceased working with our foreign partners to get persons, complicit in terrorist activity, handed over for trial in Russia. The first results of the investigation of the terrorists act in Beslan point to the complicity of Aslan Maskhadov and his henchmen.”
(Zakayev has issued statements, denying Maskhadov’s involvement, but saying that Maskhadov offered his services as a mediator, during the incident. Zakayev wrote an op-ed in the Guardian, claiming that Maskhadov does not advocate killing children, but understands what happened as an act of desperation because thousands of children were killed by the Russians during the two wars in Chechnya.)
The Foreign Ministry document goes on to say that “the latest crimes of the guerrillas, especially those committed recently in North Ossetia, will help many people in the West, where Zakayev and Akhamadov have found political asylum, see the true face of terror and understand how misled they have been.”
Putin Calls Pakistan after Beslan Terrorism
Times of India
(September 7, 2004) — The Times of India reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in which — while thanking Musharraf for a public expression of solidarity — Putin asked Pakistan to “purge” sources of financing and training for international terrorism, which Russian media have said prepared the Beslan attackers.