30 November 2015

The Chechen Factor in Syria and Ukraine

The whole of the Chechen conflict and its context have been largely underreported in the Western media and for good reason. The US has taken an aggressive posture toward Russia since the end of the Cold War and this has only increased under the tenure of Putin.

The US has never allowed Putin to join the 'War on Terror' much in the same way it refuses to allow China to access the TPP. Why? These 'moves' are essentially imperialist in nature and are tools and cover utilized by the Americans to move against and contain these foes.

The Chechen terrorists have been permitted to operate out of Georgia and the Russians and others have believed they have been supported by the US for many years.  

Why bring up the Chechens now?

For years their exile community has fanned out across the Middle East with not a few living in Syria and Jordan. The Sufi-style Islam found in Caucasus has been overshadowed by the growth and export of Salafi-type movements. Radicalised members of the Chechen exile community have had extensive contact with organizations the US has labeled as terroristic. And yet this has little disturbed the US if these Chechen Salafis and Jihadists go back to the Caucasus. At that point by agitating Russia they serve US interests. Interestingly many Chechen fighters seem welcome in US allied states like Turkey, Jordan and Qatar. They're not hidden but openly embraced and supported. Russia knows something is up and there's been a secret war of assassination that's been going on for years as the Russians seek to eliminate this threat.

It's like something out of a movie but in real life the plot is far too complicated. I appreciate the line from Armin Mueller-Stahl's ex-Stasi character in The International. He said, “There’s a difference between truth and fiction.  Fiction has to make sense.”

It does make sense, but it's amoral if not overtly sinister. It's a power game.

From Russia's standpoint, Chechen involvement in the Syrian War and in particular their affiliations with al Nusra and ISIS are a cause for great concern. Whenever the Syrian conflict winds down they will be looking for a new fight and many will likely return to the Caucasus. Even now some have moved to the front in Eastern Ukraine where they can directly engage the hated Russian troops.

Putin has suggested that his government is better served by fighting them in Syria than at home. While the US will undoubtedly laugh if not scoff at this, it must be pointed out this same rationale was repeatedly appealed to members of the Bush administration in reference to both Afghanistan and Iraq.

While no one doubts Putin's motives are both complex and less than pure, the US administration can hardly point a finger of accusation. His policies are actually wholly in line with the public statements and policy of the past two US administrations.

And yet as early as 2002, Putin realized the War on Terror wasn't real and the US had no interest in partnering with Russia. The Chechen terroristic threat was not viewed as a politically legitimate interpretation nor was it granted moral validity. Putin was excluded and he knew the Bush administration's posturing was fraudulent. The War on Terror was not about eradicating violent extremist forms of Islamic radicalism. Instead this was a pretext for accumulating domestic powers and for geopolitical expansion.

And yet how many American Christians will beat the war drum and profit from it? The US throws gasoline on the fires of war and the Christians in these lands suffer the consequences. And then when those caught in the middle flee, seeking solace and respite - they are reviled.