/ geopolitics / caucasus / bloody /
This is an excellent and thorough summary of the situation in the Caucasus, not only as far as Chechnya is concerned but for the whole region... It's a great primer on what the hell is going on over there... Gary Leupp's conclusion is worth noting:
Thus the main issue in the Caucasus is not Islam, or Chechen terrorism, but geopolitical control, with the U.S. and Russia competing to depict their competition as a War on Terror.....
To this the world should simply say, with Bertolt Brecht, "The valley to the waterers, that it yield fruit." (Caucasian Chalk Circle, Act V)
Speaking of Chechnya and Caucasian geopolitics, let me introduce you to the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC, mentioned in the linked article). It's members include Richard Perle and a hoarde of major and minor US establishment figures... Can anyone think of anything more ironic than Richard Perle supporting the Chechen cause?... The double standard seems almost too painful to bear... I mean, doesn't anyone ask him about it?
Also well worth reading is an analysis of the situation in Chechnya, published in the Asia Times, titled "Russia's second Afghanistan" written by Dr Michael A Weinstein. This confirms the issue's geopolitical angle:
...Just as was the case in its intervention in Afghanistan, Russia faces the additional problem that the opposition to its policies is aided by the US. Chechen businessman Malik Saydullayev, who would have been the only credible candidate contesting Alkhanov in the presidential election had he not been barred from running because of a technical problem with his passport, has said that "Russia has geopolitical and geostrategic interests in the Caucasus, the heart of which is Chechnya, and developed NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] countries also have interests in the Caucasus. This war is over these interests."
In the current strategic environment, the US is constrained to give public support to Russian efforts to curb terrorism, but that does not mean that it takes Russia's side in practice. Not only did the US criticize the August 29 election as being "neither free nor fair", but it has granted asylum to Ilyas Akhmadov, the foreign minister of Maskhadov's opposition government, leaving him free to pursue diplomacy aimed at winning international support for Maskhadov's Republic of Ichkeria....
... Maskhadov is pursuing a novel strategy of sending his government ministers into exile in different countries so that they can gain maximum diplomatic leverage. Culture minister Akhmed Zakayev has been granted asylum in Great Britain; health minister Umar Khanbiyev is in France; social defense minister Apti Bisultanov is based in Germany. Maskhadov's dispersion strategy has led to publicity for his proposal to internationalize the Chechen conflict through guarantees of the country's autonomy and to contacts with non-government organizations. Whether NATO powers are formally involved with the Ichkerian exile government is unclear, but at the very least they are granting it a measure of legitimacy and sending a signal to Moscow that they are not supportive of its success in Chechnya.
A maze of a situation, in which the innocent are routinely paying for the "strategic moves" of various states and interests. "Third forces" are invoked (interestingly "those who brought Putin to power" - the FSB?), the west is accused of aiding and abetting terrorists, John Laughland nods in agreement, yet the wise folks over at the "exile" provide proof that the western media are placating Putin's atrocities...
Nothing is what it seems to be.