TalkBack [Russia Fights Back]

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 幽默笑话 点击:

  FIRM STANCE: Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that he has ordered Russian agents to hunt down the killers of Russian diplomats taken hostage in Iraq
  Vladimir Putin may well breathe a sigh of relief when hearing the news that Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev was killed. In recent years, fighting against terrorism has been weighing heavily on the mind of the Russian president. Only a couple of days earlier, the lawmakers endorsed a Kremlin request that Putin be allowed to send special forces to hunt down terrorists anywhere in the world.
  Basayev and a number of other militants were killed in a truck explosion in a village in Ingushetia, a republic plagued by sporadic spillover violence from neighboring Chechnya, on July 10. Russian officials say he was eliminated in a special operation and attributed the victory to Russian intelligence positioned abroad. However, Ingush authorities said the explosion of Basayev’s dynamite-laden truck occurred mistakenly during a special police operation against rebels.
  With a $10 million bounty on his head, Basayev was the most wanted terrorist of the Russian Government. He had claimed responsibility for the Beslan school hostage tragedy in 2004, in which more than 330 people were killed and 700 others wounded. He is also believed to have been the planner of the 2002 hostage-taking assault on a theater in southeast Moscow, which claimed 170 lives.
  Just before his death, Basayev had allegedly been planning an attack in southern Russia to disrupt the G-8 Summit that Putin would be hosting July 15-17 in St. Petersburg.
  
  A milestone
  
  Analysts said Basayev’s death would deal a severe blow to the Chechen insurgency. “With Basayev’s death, a head of this organization has been destroyed. It’s as if [Osama] bin Laden had been eliminated in Afghanistan,” Alexander Rahr, a Russia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, was quoted as saying by Reuters. “You can be sure that [U.S. President George W.] Bush and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel will congratulate Putin over Basayev.”
  Chinese media hailed the killing of Basayev as a great triumph of Russia. A report by the official Xinhua News Agency that appeared in many domestic newspapers and websites stated: “It demonstrates to the international community the Russian Government’s firm determination and action capacity to combat terrorism. At the same time, it signifies that political and social stability in Russia is irreversible and the environment for the country to move toward prosperity and renewal is improving.”
  Jiang Yi, a research fellow with the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), considers Basayev’s death to be an important achievement in Russia’s campaign against terrorism. He believes the victory will provide an effective deterrent to terrorists, as it could deal them a heavy psychological blow and help disintegrate their organizations.
  While congratulating all special agents who prepared and conducted the operation, Putin strongly condemned the dead rebel leader. “This is deserved retribution against the bandits for our children in Beslan, in Budennovsk, for all these acts of terror they committed in Moscow and other Russian regions, including Ingushetia and Chechnya,” he said in televised comments.
  In addition, he pointed out that the terrorist threat facing Russia is still very high. “So we must not weaken our attention at this point,” he said. “We must increase and strengthen our activities in this direction.”
  This prudent attitude is echoed by Chinese international studies scholars. Jiang of the CASS said the Chechen issue would not be settled for good because of Basayev’s death, citing two distinct characteristics of terrorist organizations in Chechnya.
  First, as the leadership of the terrorists is a decentralized network, it can soon be connected again in case of damage. Second, after Russia waged two rounds of large-scale antiterrorism operations, Chechen militants have become small groups rather than organized as an integrated force. These groups usually number dozens of militants and tend to launch attacks independently.
  He therefore concluded that despite the deterrent effect that killing Basayev has on the terrorist groups, it would not bring an end to the Chechen problem, a complex and multifaceted issue that involves historical conflicts between different ethnic groups, problems arising from cultural integration and challenges posed by religious extremists in the region as well as various international forces that fuel the crisis.
  Li Wei, Director of the Center for Counterterrorism Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), shares similar views. He pointed out that unlike ordinary crimes, terrorism usually stems from social, historical, political and economic factors. If these deeper issues are not addressed, they will continue to breed terrorism, he noted.
  The antiterrorism expert said that Chechen rebels followed Basayev not for economic gains, but for their political interests of establishing an independent republic. Dedicated to the political pursuit, the terrorists do not hesitate to die for their cause. “The rebels are unlikely to fall apart because of Basayev’s death,” he predicted. “Instead, they will choose a new leader.”
  Taking note of Chechen President Alu Alkhanov’s comments that the killing of Basayev practically concludes the counterterrorist operation in Chechnya, Li said it is too early to express that sort of optimism.
  After Basayev was slain, Moscow urged Chechen militants on July 15 to surrender within two weeks, saying the death of separatist warlord was an opportunity “for all those who have not yet returned to peaceful life.” However, in response, the rebels declared that the war would continue.
  “With the help of Almighty Allah, we intend to reach the victory in which we have not doubted one minute,” rebel President Doku Umarov said in a statement posted on the separatists’ official website.   Umarov described the death of Basayev as a “heavy loss.” He also warned Russians celebrating the death of Basayev that “10 equally worthy heroes will take his place.”
  
  Persistent efforts
  
  END OF THE ROAD: A Russian officer passes the blast site on the outskirts of the village of Yekazhevo in Ingushetia where Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev was killed
  While braving the daunting challenges at home, Russia is contemplating fighting back against terrorists on the international stage. In late June, Putin ordered special agents to hunt down and “destroy” the killers of four Russian diplomats abducted and killed in Iraq early that month.
  The request to deploy special forces to fight terrorists elsewhere in the world was endorsed by Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the country’s parliament, by an overwhelming 148 to zero on July 7.
  Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has indicated he has a team of special forces waiting to be dispatched. Special forces from the GRU, the intelligence wing of the armed forces, are expected to get involved.
  This drastic move is expected to have far-reaching implications. Yao Yunzhu, a news analyst with Beijing-based International News Journal commented that the initiative could “kill three birds with one stone.”
  Yao noted that it is first and foremost meant to boost the public’s confidence in the Russian Government. With Russia’s economy revving up, the government wants to show the public its enhanced strength to win their support.
  The move is also expected to have international repercussions, according to Yao. Russia did not urge the United States, which currently occupies Iraq, to take measures to help hunt for the killers of its diplomats. Instead, it announced it would deploy its own special forces. Yao believes the difference in strategy speaks of Moscow’s disappointment at the security environment in U.S.-controlled Iraq.
  Moreover, he pointed out the initiative can deter terrorist forces at home as well. Russian special forces are not supposed to launch operations in foreign countries only for the purpose of avenging the deaths of diplomats. They are actually authorized to pursue all terrorists that jeopardize Russia’s national interests on a worldwide basis, he noted.
  However, Li Wei of the CICIR believes Putin’s order to hunt terrorists globally is an approach taken to temporarily release bitterness. He warned that problems would arise as the order is implemented. Checking violence through violence will face law enforcement problems in foreign countries and may result in a vicious cycle, according to him.
  “You have the right to arrest or hunt down terrorists according to the law,” he said. “But I don’t think extreme actions should be taken, which do not help eradicate terrorism.”
  Li’s worries are justified. In 2004, Putin’s government was accused of ordering the murder of Chechen rebel envoys in Qatar. The two Russians who were convicted in the car bomb murder were accused of being GRU agents acting under orders from Ivanov. Moscow denied involvement in the killing at the time, but later admitted the two men were agents and secured their return to Russia.   Russia has geared up its antiterrorism campaign in recent years. Shortly after the 2004 Beslan school hostage massacre, it adopted a series of new approaches such as strengthening coordination between different departments, appointing 14 leaders in North Caucasus republics to take charge of antiterrorism and demanding law enforcement agencies to step-up operations against terrorism.
  Putin issued a presidential decree on measures in countering terrorism in February. It initiated a powerful national antiterrorism committee in which various departments are represented, thus shaping a nationwide antiterrorism network.
  In March, Putin signed the Antiterrorism Law, a renewed effort made to improve the national antiterrorism mechanism and intensify the fight against terrorism.
  As a result of the tough measures, a number of Chechen rebel leaders such as Aslan Maskhadov, Alash Daudov and Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev have been slain. Despite the victories, Russia is keeping highly alert against terrorism. It started a two-week antiterrorist military drill in the south of the country involving military, naval and air forces on July 13.
  Jiang Yi of the CASS said the antiterrorism drive in Russia is moving in a good direction, especially if small terrorist groups are constantly dismayed. “Tragedies like the Beslan incident will not happen again if the entire society is administered efficiently,” he said.

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