Monday, April 05, 2010

How to Re(a)d the News - 2

We went north (to Opo) for Easter, to enjoy the last of our summer. Very enjoyable it was too. That was, if you exclude the news...

On Sunday, the SST published this article. It was "speculative" to the extent that the name of one of the suicide bombers in the Moscow metro had not been confirmed.

This later article is bylined 2 April, a fact that might upset some seeing as how that was Good Friday. The News does go on...
When the shooting started Adlan Mutsaev and his friends were in the woods picking garlic. They had arrived in the forest earlier that day, together with a group of neighbours travelling in a battered coach. The plan had been straightforward: stuff their sacks, enjoy the countryside, and then head back home to the Chechen town of Achkoi-Martan.

Without warning, Russian commandos hiding behind a hillock opened fire.Adlan, 16, was with his brother Arbi, 19, and their friends Shamil Kataev, 19, and Movsar Tataev, 19. Shamil and Movsar were both wounded. Adlan was shot in the leg, but managed to hobble into a ditch. He hid. Arbi also attempted to flee, but men in camouflage fatigues caught up with him.

According to the human rights group Memorial, Arbi was forced to drag his two wounded and bleeding friends across the snow. Shamil begged for his life. But the solders were impervious. They placed a blindfold over Arbi's eyes. And then they opened fire: executing Shamil and Movsar on the spot. At least two other garlic pickers suffered the same fate: Ramzan Susaev, 40, and Movsar Dakaev, 17. According to his relatives, Dakaev had pleaded to be allowed on the trip with the others. Wearing a bright green fleece, he took a photo of himself in the woods with his mobile phone. It shows him proudly posing against a craggy backdrop of cliffs and trees covered in snow. A little over 48 hours later his body was discovered.

The misfortune of the four garlic pickers was to have unwittingly strayed into a "counter-insurgency operation" conducted by Russian forces in the densely wooded border between Chechnya and Ingushetia. The soldiers, apparently looking for militant rebels who are waging their own violent campaign against the Russian state, came across the unarmed group, brutally killing them amid the picturesque massif of low hills.

Normally this atrocity on a cold day in February would have raised barely a ripple of attention had it not been for the terrible events in Moscow this week. In a video address on Thursday, Chechnya's chief insurgent leader, Doku Umarov, said Monday's suicide attacks on the Russian capital's metro were in revenge for the killings of the garlic pickers near the Ingush village of Arshaty. He claimed federal security service (FSB) commandos had used knives to mutilate their bodies of the dead boys.

Now I know that this goes completely against the confirmation bias of people who believe that Islam is out for world domination.
Russia's counter-terrorism committee yesterday named the Park Kultury bomber as Dzhanet Abdurakhmanova, saying she was also known as Dzhanet Abdullayeva. Born in 1992, she came from Dagestan. Kommersant newspaper published a photo of her dressed in a black Muslim headscarf holding a pistol. It named the second bomber as 20-year-old Markha Ustarkhanova from Chechnya, describing her as the widow of a militant leader killed last October.

Linked or not, human rights groups say it is undeniable that the brutal actions of Russia's security forces have fuelled the insurgency raging across the North Caucasus region of Russia and the ethnic republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya and Kabardino-Balkaria. This largely invisible war has now reached the Kremlin's doorstep.

"People are abducted. People are killed. There are no guarantees of security," Magomed Mutsolgov, a human rights activist, told the Guardian yesterday, speaking from Nazran, Ingushetia's chief town. Law enforcement and security agencies have committed dozens of summary and arbitrary detentions, acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as well as extra-judicial executions, rights groups say.

Typically, armed personnel wearing masks encircle a village or district in a "sweep operation". They force their way into homes, beat residents and damage property. Suspected militants are taken away. Many never return. Others are simply shot, and fake weapons planted on them, rights groups allege, citing interviews with victims and relatives.

According to Mutsolgov, the Kremlin's counter-terrorism methods have proved entirely counter-productive: "Violence produces more violence. It drives people to the militant underground."

The nature of the armed conflict in the North Caucasus has also mutated. From 1994 to 1996 Boris Yeltsin fought a war against mainly secular Chechen separatists who wanted – like the newly independent Georgians over the mountains – their own constitution and state. In 1999-2004 president Vladimir Putin fought a second Chechen war. The aim was to crush Chechen separatism.

Now, however, the Kremlin is battling another kind of enemy. The new generation of insurgents have an explicitly Islamist goal: to create a radical pan-Caucasian emirate with sharia law, a bit like Afghanistan under the Taliban. In February Umarov vowed to "liberate" not only the North Caucasus and Krasnodar Krai but Astrakhan – on the Caspian Sea -and the Volga region as well.

The rebels' tactics have also grown more fanatical. Umarov has seemingly revived the suicide squads used by his assassinated predecessor Shamil Basaev. Last summer a suicide truck bomber blew up Nazran's police station. Another bomber succeeded in ramming the car of Ingushetia's president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. Monday's attack in Moscow was the first in the capital for six years.

I wonder.

Can anyone else see the same dots as I? The dots between action by the "infidel" and the increasing number of volunteers for suicide missions.

I wonder.

Will the connections between "action" and "consequence" ever be realised in the measurement of the futility of "conventional warfare" in the war against terrorism.

I know.

I do not have the answers. I would be immensely powerful and probably equally rich if I did.

It does seem to me that a very large part of the success of that "war" will come from the removal of "cause". Those "perceived (by the terrorists) causes" I would guess to include US support for Israel, poverty (watch for that one to become of even greater import), inequalities and inequities, and many more I can not imagine.

Perhaps it is another "quote" that came over the radio on Saturday afternoon -

If consumption per head of population in China were to reach the same levels as in the US at present we would need "another seven planets"

Totally unsupported (to my knowledge) by any scientific fact, but not an unimaginable conclusion to reach. After all, how many truly obese people do you see in China?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He who would climb the ladder must begin at the bottom...................................................