Kavkaz: Russia’s Conflict Zone & West’s Playing Field
March 09, 2012
Kavkaz, or famously Caucasus, is Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District, one of Russia’s eight Federal Districts, consisting of seven federal subjects; namely Republic of Dagistan, Republic of Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Karachay–Cherkess Republic, Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, Stavropol Krai, and Chechen Republic. Among these Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino and Dagistan have been the centers of violence in recent years. This violence, going on for more than two decades, took a new turn in October 2007 when the Chechen Islamist rebel leader, Dokka Umarov, proclaimed an Emirate (Islamic Form of Government) in the Caucasus region and declared himself as the first Emir (Leader) of the Emirate. Since then, he has been declared as a wanted terrorist with his Emirate still a virtual unrecognized entity.
Despite an official end to a decade long anti-terrorist campaign by the Russian military in the region, violence coupled with terrorist activity still exists with occasional terror attacks in different parts of Russia originating from this conflict zone. It is widely believed that though the region’s population, a Muslim majority, supports allegiance to Moscow, external forces are playing their part by funding the rebel militant groups to destabilize the country. Although Kremlin has made concerted efforts to maintain peace in the region, terrorist attacks still take place on important military and government personalities and locations with Umarov claiming responsibility for virtually all such major attacks.
Considering the small size and limited resources of the Caucasus region, it is impossible for a group of 5000 rebels, as claimed by Umarov, to fight one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced armies of the modern times. The tough geographical terrains though support the militant fighters in fighting out the Russian army; it could also be assumed that such resilience may only be possible through strong external backing and support. Thus, a common phrase used for Caucasus militants is that they are US sponsored, EU supported and Turkey channeled, something that is yet to be proven on grounds of solid evidence. Earlier in 2011, Turkey claimed that it had gunned down important Chechen separatist militants whereas in reality, Russian agents traced and gunned them down. This news, one of the major in Global War against Terror, was not even given proper coverage in the international media.
The case of Akhmed Zakayev also point towards Europe supporting anti Russia groups and leaders. Zakayev, former Prime Minister of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria – an unrecognized secessionist government of Chechnya, was charged of murder and kidnapping in Russia. Zakayev, while attending a Chechen conference in Poland, was arrested but the judge decided not to extradite him on grounds of lack of evidence as well as his political asylum status in the UK. Since then, he has been freely living in UK with the British government constantly rejecting Moscow’s extradition demand of Zakayev.
This shows the dual standard policy of both the US and the West, when once the Taliban fighters were tagged as Freedom fighters by one President where as are now tagged as militants and terrorist by the other Presidents. This means that any group, working in line of the Western interests, which wishes to establish a base in Europe, would be allowed to do so simply on name of freedom fighting just as it has been done in case of Zakayev. The claim of USA funding the Chechen fighters is not only made by Moscow but also by a former Chechen president who once claimed that the CIA is funding and training the rebel fighters who then carry out attacks in the region.
In a shocking and an eye opening interview on a famous website Corbett Report by an FBI whistle blower, Sibel Edmond, it was revealed to her while translating the transcripts FBI that that the west has been actively and openly supporting, funding and financing terrorists in the Caucasus region for years, and are continuing to do so. This may not come as a surprise because by adopting anti-aggression policies, Russia is developing with a rapid pace coupled with its alliance with China in form of SCO posing a threat for NATO. Even in a documentary, by the title of The Caucasus Plan, aired by Russian television in 2008, the West was alleged for supporting and financing the Caucasus militants. It said that the financing for them was coming through a Turkish construction company named ENKA, the passports were made in France, the new currency was printed in Germany where as the whole Caucasian plan was being coordinated in the US.
The reason for US interest in controlling the mineral rich Caucasian region groups is neither new nor surprising. The region also holds importance as it shares borders with important western ally states of Georgia and Azerbaijan. In wake of the entire situation, Moscow still maintains a calm approach as its focus in recent years has shifted towards economy and development rather than militarization. That is what helped it progress on massive proportions and stand among potential strong economies of the future. It would be interesting to see as if how Kremlin reacts towards the militancy situation in Kavkaz once it gets of hand.