News Testimony from one of the captured militants reveals that the motive behind capturing the school in Beslan and barbarically murdering helpless children was “to unleash war throughout the Caucasus”. Moscow radio is reported as saying the terrorists may have received help from local police….. with coercion. This needs to be elaborated on further, but makes no sense as a stand-alone statement.

The kidnappers sneaked weapons into the school which is just 200 metres from the local police department HQ and booby trapped it before they staged their attack. “The bandits were able to bring into the school a large quantity of weapons, ammunition, equipment and explosives, under the guise of planks, cement and other building material, enough to defend the seized place for a long period,” the ITAR-news agency quoted a law-enforcement official as saying.

Witnesses report that bombs were removed from under floor boards in the school. Aslanbek Aslakhanov, a Chechen, was on the site throughout the tragedy, and contacted the gang on the telephone. “The men were certainly not Chechens. When I spoke Chechen with them, they said they couldn’t make out a word. ‘Speak Russian,’ they told me. “The men had their conversations not within Russia but with other countries. They were led on a leash. Our self-styled friends have been working for several decades, I deem, to dismember Russia. They are doing a huge, really titanic job. It’s clear as daylight that those people are coming up as puppeteers and are financing terror,” he said to the Rossia [sic] television company, national Channel Two, tonight.

While the media in Russia and abroad have been quick to blame Mr Basayev, a Chechen, Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s defence minister, told the Guardian yesterday. “About half of the 32 terrorists have been identified and we have not yet discovered anyone from Chechnya.” One of the theories circulating now is that the CIA is behind the attack. So a surprising connection here with the story that the Bush administration has just given political asylum to Ilias Akhmadov, the “foreign minister” of the breakaway Chechen Republic.

Russia has accused Ilias Akhmadov of terrorism. But then Putin has blamed every terrorist act in Russia on the Chechens. Back in 2000 Ilias was being given the red carpet by the new world order guru to the neo-cons, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also a member of the the American Committee for Peace in Chechenya. While Russia was claiming Akhmadov had masterminded the attack on a Russian maternity hospital in 1996 which had left dozens of people dead, Akhmadov was growing more confident of his relationhsip with Washington.

Brzezinski’s famous book “The Great Chess Game” describes a future scenario where Russia is broken up and shared between the world’s remaining super-powers. It was Brezinski, as US national security adviser, who told the Taliban, then fighting the Soviet Union, “Your cause is right. God is on your side.”

  • Brezinski : Regret what? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
  • Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intigrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
  • Brezinski : What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
  • Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
  • Brezinski : Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

Indeed, it is just this scenario that Putin dreads so much when he warns Russians have much to fear from international terrorists who “believe they are stronger than ourselves, that their cruelty will intimidate us, paralyze our will and degenerate our society. Here we have a seeming alternative – to rebuff them or to begin obeying their orders. The second means to give in and to let them partition Russia in a hope that they will somehow let us alone. As President of the Russian state, a person who gave an oath to defend the nation and its territorial integrity, and last but not least, as a Russian citizen, I am confident that we have no such alternative.

“The moment we give in to their blackmail and succumb to panic, we will plunge millions of people into an endless chain of bloodletting conflicts, like Karabakh [an enclave of Azerbaijan predominantly populated by Armenians Itar-Tass] or the Dniester region [a part of Moldova that proclaimed itself independent in the early 1990’s Itar-Tass] or other tragedies of the kind. One cannot but see that this is obvious.”

Cui bono?

“The interest of the US in the Caucasus is control over oil supplies from the Caspian Sea, which involves securing compliant regimes in the southern Caucasus, including Azerbaijan, where the oil is extracted, and Georgia, through which the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will pass. As a consequence of this dominant interest, the US is also committed to thwarting any attempt by Russia to expand its influence in the Caucasus. From the American viewpoint, Russian failure in Chechnya is welcome, as long as it does not get to the point that Chechnya becomes a base for Islamic revolution worldwide.

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. The Putin regime has complained of an American “double standard” in the “war on terror”, but has been powerless to stop the American support of the opposition.

The US and the European Union have called for Russia to negotiate with the separatists. France and Germany have played both sides of the table, distancing themselves from the US by endorsing the August 29 election, but also urging negotiation. Their ambivalence is based on their desire for stronger relations with Russia to counter American influence in Eastern Europe and to build economic relations, particularly in the oil sector. At the same time, they also want Caspian Sea oil free from Russian control.

While it remains unclear which international terrorists are behind the massacre in Beslan as so far no terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility, many have been quick to blame Chechens. UK officials released a statement of support for Putin warning off those who would dare question the role of Putin in Chechenya impugning those who would dare question Russian policy in Chechenya and vowing to help Putin in counter-terrorist actions.

There can be no doubt that the two wars carried out by Russian soldiers in Chechenya have been horrific with as many as 200,000 civilians killed, 35,000 of those children and this would be a good time to condemn Putin for the ongoing war in Chechenya. In the meantime, the Bush administration’s hypocrisy on urging for a political settlement that could bring about an end to the Chechen crisis beggars belief and Bush should be persuaded to practise what he preaches in Iraq! Erupting opportunely as delegates at the Republican convention listened to W drone on about making the world safer from t’rrists, the Beslan attrocity has “Made in America” stamped all over it.

Russian citizens are sure to lose their liberties as Putin emulates Bush’s response to 911. Already the state Dumas is considering restricting peoples freedoms. Ironically, The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin’s Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic.Putin, facing an onslaught of criticism from all sides, has no choice but to carve out a niche for himself as terror-maestro, alongside W and Ariel Sharon, in their self-styled international “war on terror”.