Sunday, September 05, 2004

Comprehensive Beslan Update

By Dan Darling at Winds of Change.

As with pretty much every post by Dan, this is a must read.
Basayev's reasons for selecting North Ossetia in general and Breslan in particular are obvious to one familiar with the warped nature of al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers. Unlike most of the North Caucasus, most North Ossetians are Eastern Orthodox Christians, so it "makes sense" to target them rather than say Russian Muslim schoolchildren in Ingushetia or Dagestan if you're a Wahhabi who subscribes to bin Laden's belief in a Huntingtonian-esque clash of civilizations. In addition to being majority Christian, North Ossetia was also one of the few regions of the North Caucasus that voluntarily joined the Russian Empire and its population formed a lot of the levies that were eventually used to subdue other Caucasus nations that refused to submit to the Tsar. As such, even the murder of innocent schoolchildren can be fit into a warped idea of "vengeance" for actions that their ancestors may have committed.

I should point out that regardless of what one thinks about Russian involvement in Chechnya, the people of Breslan had no power whatsoever to effect Russian policy in region. Basayev is an educated man who is quite familiar with the North Caucasus, so he must have known this when he was planning the attack. Things like this make his decision to target the innocent people of Breslan all that much more inexcuseable.

However, I should point out that Basayev's ambitions extend far beyond just Chechen independence, so everybody saying that a political solution to the Chechen war or Russian withdrawl from the region is going to solve the issue is going to be sorely disappointed.
Read it all.