Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Russia is using Bin Laden´s death as pretext for their brutal killings in the Caucasus

Anna Politovskaya was murdered because she spoke out about the brutal Russian killings in Chechnia

Russia is - as was to be expected - using the death of  Osama Bin Laden as a pretext for continuing its brutal and murderous campaign against North Caucasus insurgents:

In its statement Monday, the Foreign Ministry likened bin Laden to slain Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev and the U.S. anti-terrorism operations in Pakistan to Russian security services' own operations in the North Caucasus, where, it said, a hunt continues for al-Qaida emissaries.

However, as the Moscow Times points out:

Still, not a single Chechen has ever been arrested outside Russia for involvement in al-Qaida. The few Russian citizens arrested by coalition forces in Afghanistan and then jailed in the Guantanamo prison comprised natives of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Kabardino-Balkaria. All were later sent back to Russia, where they were released.

Andrei Soldatov, a security analyst with the Agentura think tank, said playing up al-Qaida's presence in the North Caucasus helps Russian authorities pretend that they are fighting a common enemy with the United States and other Western countries.
"This naturally allows them to undercut foreign criticism of the brutal anti-terrorism efforts in the North Caucasus," he said.

Enver Kisriyev, a Caucasus expert with the Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Science, concurred, saying, "Claiming to be fighting al-Qaida allows federal and local security officials to often operate outside the legal limits."

Bin Laden's death will have little effect on the activities of North Caucasus rebels because they do not share al-Qaida's global goal of fighting the United States, which it sees as the biggest enemy of Islam, Soldatov said.

The Moscow Times also reports that president Obama had notified the Kremlin about Bin Laden´s death before he made a public announcement:

"We appreciate it that the Russian authorities were sufficiently informed before the official statement by U.S. President Barack Obama," the Foreign Ministry said Monday in a brief statement.

There does not seem to have been any reports about Obama informing his western allies in the same way. If he did not do it, one wonders what particular reason he had to inform the Kremlin?

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