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Caucasus Times: Andrey Babitskiy: Shahid... This Word Contains A Lot...

posted by FerrasB on July, 2006 as NORTH CAUCASUS

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 7/10/2006 1:39 AM
29 June 2006
Andrey Babitskiy: Shahid... This word contains a lot...
Шахид… как много в этом слове
CHECHNYA, 22 June, Caucasus Times - The death of [Chechen rebel president] Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev will not alter the basic nature of the Caucasus conflict. Various commentators, when discussing the demise of the leader of the Chechen underground, have referred to his peaceful disposition, his gentleness and his inclination towards compromise and even - on the Memorial web site - his unfulfilled intention to offer Russia some kind of peace plan. Accordingly, Dokka Umarov was seen to be an opponent of Sadulayev and a radical who is totally programmed into war with Russia and is incapable of any dialogue other than through the sight of a rifle.

So, lacking a new matrix, they simply used the old one. That was precisely how they analysed the aftermath of [former Chechen rebel president] Aslan Maskhadov's death, claiming that the Russian authorities had shot themselves in the foot by killing the only person they could potentially or hypothetically negotiate with. Meanwhile, the attempts today to separate the underground and to find their own hawks and doves there yield nothing when it comes to trying to understand the future of the armed struggle.

After Maskhadov, the resistance had no other way out than to continue the war until a very dubious victory or a much more likely defeat. Maskhadov's hopes that sooner or later he would be able to exorcize the war with trite and empty calls to peace, as he had to do once before, were the hopes of the whole underground and a considerable section of peaceful Chechens. In precisely the same way the whole resistance shared [Chechen warlord Shamil] Basayev's assurance, based on what happened at Budennovsk, that terrorist acts would sooner or later bring the desired result (all that was needed was an ideal plan and organization).

Nord-Ost and Beslan

Maskhadov's death shattered all remaining illusions about the salutary prospects of a political settlement. although he situation had been clear for several years since the Russian authorities had never tried to make a secret of their reluctance to negotiate. Thus the resistance lost all hope of peace. Nord-Ost [scene of theatre siege in Moscow in 2002] and Beslan [scene of school siege in 2004] demonstrated very clearly that it was as about as easy to force [Russian President Vladimir] Putin towards peace as it was to explain to a vampire the advantages of a vegetarian way of life. Thus the tactic of terror went the same way as the tactic of peace.

After Maskhadov's death, Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev declared that the mojahedin's expectations of peace were dwindling, they were reluctant to take any more steps in this direction and would continue to fight until God granted them death or victory.

Those who are now discoursing about Sadulayev's love of peace have simply not bothered to study his statements which all without exception have been published on the Chechenpress and Kavkaz-Tsentr web sites. Sadulayev was no more peace-loving than Basayev - he complained about the Russian authorities and the Chechen munafiqs [hypocrites], argued about the need to continue the war not for life but for death, in a manner much tougher and more barnstorming than his predecessor Maskhadov. But the curious thing is that when it comes to outside issues which are not directly connected to military problems, the tone of his statements changes in a surprising way. Sadulayev actually starts to sound calm and rational. It may be that was how his image of a good-natured politician came about.

Sadulayev was neither guilty nor worthy of an uncompromising nature when it comes to military rhetoric. A member of the mojahedin cannot be anything else in today's circumstances. They have been chased into a war, as into a trap. The olive branch which Aslan Maskhadov so loved to offer, was for ever buried in the basement of a house blown up in Tolstoy-Yurt. Any discourse by a Chechen leader, starting with Sadulayev, should be drawn up as an instrument to demoralize and intimidate the enemy, and so figures of speech which threaten the enemy as much as possible should be used.

Caucasus Front

Conclusion: what determines the outcome of the war is not up to Chechen presidents whatever their personal tastes and passions, their room to manoeuvre and personal initiative. What does this mean? Last summer Sadulayev announced the setting up of the Caucasus Front, a structure which united the North Caucasus jamaats [communities] of varying ethnic groups. It is difficult to say what effect this had on improving the combat readiness of the underground groups from the neighbouring republics. The Chechens had already in the course of many years been directing the actions of the armed communities in Dagestan, Ingushetia, Karachayev-Cherkessia and Kabarda-Balkaria. I am inclined to think that there was no basic technical need for an organized structure, but the emergence of the Caucasus Front should have become the symbol of a strengthening of the overall Caucasus resistance to Russia.

Sadulayev's successor Dokka Umarov will hardly be in a position to change anything in the developing strategy and ideology of the underground. The intent behind the expansion of the territory of the war is in no way an idea of a global Jihad, as many Russian analysts claim. It is a question of the survival of the underground. For a number of reasons the Chechen space is becoming more and more of a problem for the mojahedin. The increasingly effective work of the special services and local power-wielding structures, the work of secret agents which has been well established for a number of years, and, most importantly, the neutralization of a section of the population who sympathize with the mojahedin through the banishment or physical annihilation of dissidents and constant abuse of power have weakened the social base of the resistance. In Chechnya it is becoming and more difficult to find refuge, to buy goods and medicines and to go unnoticed in areas where "Kadyrov's men" are controlling the situation.

It is difficult to say how justified the Chechens are in their belief that the neighbouring regions will be drawn into the war. Only time will tell. But Dokka Umarov will have to follow this military-political doctrine, just like anyone else who might find himself in his place. Simply because there is no other concept or likely to be. I repeat: peace was already given to Chechnya once but it was refused. We will not start to discuss the reasons here. By yielding to terror in Budennovsk, Russia in the eyes of the Chechens only demonstrated its own weakness. Who is to blame for the fact that the underground has no chance other than war?

Of course, there is a huge difference in political temperaments between Sadulayev and Umarov. The late leader was a Muslim romantic, an idealist and a humanitarian. Let me quote from one of his statements: "Today, in the age of globalization and the acceleration of the processes of integration, it is above all those who have common interests and objectives who are united. The peoples of the Caucasus have a common history, a common struggle for freedom and independence, a common religion and common ideals and values. This is international practice, and a clear example of this is the unification of Europe. By fulfilling their sacred duty before God, the Muslims of the Caucasus are united around the leadership of the CRI and are waging a national-liberation struggle to decolonize the whole of the Caucasus. Today the leaders of the national-liberation movements of the peoples of the Caucasus are part of the Majlis ul-Shura of the CRI and a Shura [assembly] of alims of the Caucasus under the CRI president has been formed, and the Dagestani Front and the Caucasus Front are structural units of the armed forces of the CRI. In the future it is planned to create a Majlis ul-Shura of the Caucasus, a Shura of alims of the Caucasus and to create a confederative state of the type of the European Union."

There is no doubt that Sadulayev had the imagination and the conceptual boldness to knock together such fanciful intellectual schemes, comparing the European Union with a political caliphate in the Northern Caucasus.

Umarov the realist

Umarov is more of a realist and practical person, although he, too, has his own whims. His anti-Semitism is well known, although lately he has had enough commonsense to refrain from expressing himself on this subject. Closer to him are the specifics of warfare, especially operational-tactical warfare. He did not scheme acts of terrorism, the technology of which requires not only military planning, but also complex political calculations. As commander of the South-Western Front, he has been running it as he would probably have run a construction team at an oil-rig if he had ever worked in that profession. Umarov says of himself that he is a patriot, i.e. he proceeds from the idea of the national self-determination of the Chechens. His family belongs to the Kunta-Khadzhi virda and the new Ichkerian president to this day considers himself to be a traditional Chechen believer.

But today he will have to forget about many things and adapt to the role of leader not only of the Chechens but of the Muslims of the whole of the North Caucasus. And that means upholding the rhetoric of the Jihad, to imagine the future of a North Caucasus caliphate. There is nothing cunning in this ideology, a strange symbiosis of Sufism and Wahhabism has developed in the eyes of Umarov himself and he knows about it in detail. The question is how to apply it.
It is possible that Umarov - and this will be his personal contribution to the cause of liberating the Caucasus - will try in accordance with his military habits to mobilize Chechnya's internal forces even more, but this will be just an element of global strategy. And the latter amounts to a new Great Caucasian war, the prospects of which are not so much under consideration as already apparent.
Andrey Babitskiy, special to Caucasus Times

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