Skip to comments.Notorious Chechen Rebel Masterminded School Seige (Al Quaeda!)
Posted on 09/03/2004 10:37:19 PM PDT by Flightdeck
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And on very, very important indigestion of Mr. Clinton.
On a per capita basis, the terrorists would have had to kill about 1500 for it to be comparable to 9/11.
Russia 144 million (2004 population estimate)
United States 293 million (2004 population estimate)
Russia is forever changed.
Anyone who takes this at face value is accepting the word of the Russian government, which has never been reliable, no matter who is in charge. In another article one of the survivors is quoted as saying that none of the hostage takers appeared to be Arab and all spoke with Chechen, Ossetian and Ingush accents.
Right. The officials say Arabs are involved but the people in the school don't seem to say that. Here is what they do to a RFERL reporter tryong to cover the Beslan story. You have to wonder what the authorities were trying to hide from a reporter for Radio Liberty:
The Russians wouldn't let a RFERL reporter to to Beslan.
RFE/RL's Babitsky Arrested At Moscow Airport Trying To Reach Site Of North Ossetia Hostage Standoff
(Prague, Czech Republic--September 2, 2004) RFE/RL Russian Service Correspondent Andrei Babitsky was harassed and detained today by police at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, where he was attempting to fly to southern Russia to cover the ongoing hostage standoff at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia. Babitsky, who in January 2000 was abducted by Russian security officials and held incommunicado for 40 days because of his coverage of the war in Chechnya, has been released, but is due before a local magistrate tomorrow morning (September 3).
Babitsky was first detained at Vnukovo Airport while trying to board a flight from Moscow to the southern Russian city of Mineralnye Vody, from where he planned to continue on to Beslan. Police at the airport accused Babitsky of carrying explosives in his bag. After police searched the bag and found no explosives, Babitsky was released and continued on to await his flight.
While waiting to board the flight, Babitsky was approached by two young men who attempted to provoke a fight with him. Police arrested all three men, took them to the airport police station and then to a medical clinic, where Babitsky was subjected to blood tests on suspicion that he was drunk. Babitsky was eventually joined at the airport police station by his lawyer, who accompanied Babitsky to a local magistrate's office, where he was released pending resolution of his case.
Babitsky is not the only journalist to be harassed while attempting to travel to North Ossetia this week. Babitsky was to be accompanied on his flight to Mineralnye Vody by AFP correspondent Yana Dlugy, who was also stopped on suspicion of carrying explosives and as a result missed the flight. In addition, well-known Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya became seriously ill yesterday during a flight from Moscow to Rostov na Donu, from where she intended to go on to Beslan for her newspaper, "Novaya Gazeta." It is suspected that Politkovskaya, who is currently hospitalized in Rostov in serious, but stable condition, was poisoned during the flight.
Babitsky, an award-winning correspondent for RFE/RL's Russian Service, was abducted in January 2000 by Russian officials after complaining about his reporting on the war in Chechnya--reporting that was praised internationally as balanced and objective. Those officials then claimed to have exchanged Babitsky for several Russian prisoners of war -- an exchange that Babitsky said never took place. Russian officials released Babitsky after 40 days in detention, after planting false documents on him. It is these documents which formed the basis of charges of violating Russian passport regulations that were brought against Babitsky. During judicial proceedings, Babitsky was released on his own recognizance but restricted to Moscow until August 2000. Babitsky now lives and works in Prague.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, international communications service to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia, funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
The experts at www.rferl.org
often are able to give a more complete picture.
This is a good article:
Analysis: Unanswered Questions In Aftermath Of Beslan
By Liz Fuller
[For more on the North Ossetian hostage tragedy and the recent wave of terrorism in Russia, see RFE/RL's "Terror in Russia" page.]
One day after the gun battle that precipitated the end of the Beslan hostage taking, any number of crucial questions remain unanswered. The full death toll was unclear. Estimates early in the day on 4 September ranged from 200-250 (twice the number of civilians killed during the Moscow theater hostage taking in October 2002), with Interfax reporting that 210 bodies had been recovered from the school building. The number of injured had been estimated at between 400 and 700. Nor was it clear why for over 36 hours North Ossetian and Russian officials claimed that there were only 354 hostages, while the true figure was over three times that number.
The exact number and provenance of the hostage takers was likewise not known with any certainty. Initially there were said to be between 17 and 40 of them. Reuters on 2 September quoted North Ossetian Interior Minister Kazbek Dzantiev as saying that the Beslan hostage takers include both Ingush and Chechens, and that "they speak good Russian." The kavkazcenter.com website, for its part, quoted Dzantiev as saying that there were also Ossetians and Russians among the militants. Valerii Andreev, head of the North Ossetian branch of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), dismissed the hostage takers' ethnicity on 2 September as irrelevant. Late on 3 September, Andreev alleged that at least 10 of the hostage takers were Arabs.
North Ossetian President Aleskandr Dzasokhov said on 2 September that during negotiations that day with former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev, the hostage takers had said they were demanding an end to the war in Chechnya; the withdrawal from Chechnya of Russian troops; and the release of the estimated 27-30 fighters held in detention in Ingushetia for their alleged participation in the 21-22 June multiple attacks on Interior Ministry facilities in that republic.The most serious question is what precipitated the use of force at midday local time on 3 September, when talks were still under way with the hostage takers on recovering the bodies of adult hostages killed two days earlier.
"Gazeta" on 2 September quoted an unnamed Russian military official as identifying the commander of the Beslan hostage takers as Magomed Evloev (aka Magas), one of Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev's lieutenants, who reportedly commanded the June raids into Ingushetia. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 29 June, however, quoted Major General Ilya Shabalkin, spokesman for the Russian counterterrorism headquarters in the North Caucasus, as saying that Magomed Evloev was killed in a shootout the previous day. And on 4 September, the independent Ingushetian website ingushetiya.ru claimed that "Magas" is not in fact Magomed Evloev, who does not exist, but a former Ingush police officer named Ali Musaevich Taziev. In the afternoon of 3 September, when fighting for the school was still continuing, unnamed Russian military officials quoted by ITAR-TASS suggested that the hostage taking was financed by an Arab named Abu Omar As-Seyf, whom they identified as "Al-Qaeda's representative in Chechnya."
The most serious question, however, is what precipitated the use of force at midday local time on 3 September, when talks were still under way with the hostage takers on recovering the bodies of adult hostages killed two days earlier. At that juncture, the school building was surrounded by hundreds of Russian troops. But apparently no effort had been made to cordon off a security area to prevent unauthorized individuals venturing within gunshot range of the building. On the contrary, parents of the hostages, some of them armed, were allowed to keep vigil in the vicinity, "The Guardian" reported on 4 September. Some of those parents, according to FSB official Andreev, returned fire on 3 September when the hostage takers began shooting at hostages who sought to escape through holes apparently blasted in the side of the school building by Russian special troops. At that juncture, Russian forces launched an all-out onslaught, fighting their way through the school in a bid to neutralize the hostage takers, some of whom managed to escape but were later apprehended.
British security experts quoted by "The Guardian" criticized the Russian military for a total lack of control, command, and coordination. One former SAS operative described it as one of the worst hostage-release efforts he had ever seen or read about, pointing to an absence of basic planning on the part of the Russian military: "They should have made some plan in case it went wrong. When the shooting started, there was no military backup. Troops did not seem to have radios to communicate." A second former SAS operative argued that the Russian special forces "should have planned an assault the first night and hit hard and fast."
A Stratfor analysis dated 4 September similarly quoted unnamed Russian security experts as arguing that special forces units could have been deployed immediately from Grozny, Vladikavkaz, and Mozdok in order to strike immediately at the hostage takers before they had a chance to mine the school building and take up defensive positions. That analysis further suggested that the Russian authorities misinterpreted the hostage takers' intentions from the outset and proceeded on the assumption that it would be possible to negotiate an agreement similar to that struck with Basaev during the Budennovsk hostage taking in June 1995, to let the hostage takers escape in return for the release of the hostages. The repeated assertions by Dzasokov and Andreev on the morning of 3 September that the Russian authorities would not resort to force to try to secure the hostages' release substantiate that hypothesis. Russian President Vladimir Putin, too, had said on 2 September that "Our main goal is to save the lives and health of the hostages, and the activities of our forces involved in the liberation of hostages is subordinate to this goal."
Even before the 3 September bloodbath, Western press commentaries were arguing that the sole hope for ending the war in Chechnya lies in beginning negotiations with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, seen as representing the moderate wing of the Chechen resistance. But Putin's previous conflation of Maskhadov with terrorism and Al-Qaeda suggests the likelihood he would condone any such talks is remote. On 4 September, chechenpress.info reported that the FSB cordoned off the homes in Znamenskoe the previous day, and then arrested the elderly father of Maskhadov's wife Kusama, together with her sister and two brothers and their families, including small children.
This articcle examines the politics of the N. Caucasus nationalities.
Analysis: Who Is Behind The Hostage Taking In North Ossetia?
By Liz Fuller
More than 10 hours after a group of some 17 armed militants seized a school in the town of Beslan in the Republic of North Ossetia on the morning of 1 September, the identities of the militants and their aims remained unclear. The militants were still holding hostage some 120 students, along with parents and teachers; at least eight people were reported to have died from injuries received during the initial onslaught, although reports of casualty figures varied.
The modus operandi of the attackers, a group comprising both men and women, some of whom were reportedly wearing explosives strapped to their bodies in readiness for a suicide bombing, was reminiscent of that used by the Chechen perpetrators of the Moscow-theater hostage taking in October 2002. Responsibility for that operation was claimed by radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev. Basaev was also reportedly one of the masterminds behind the multiple raids into Ingushetia during the night of 21-22 June, in which up to 100 people, mostly Interior Ministry personnel, were killed.
Initial reports suggested that the Beslan kidnappers demanded the release of the 30 or more suspects apprehended on suspicion of taking part in that raid. (They also reportedly demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.) Eyewitnesses told the independent Ingush website ingushetiya.ru that many of the young men who took part in the June attack were Ingush, not Chechen. The same website also quoted one of them, who explained that he "never used to be a militant" but that he and hundreds of other young Ingush had fled to southern Chechnya and joined the ranks of Basaev's fighters after their relatives were abducted by Ingush Interior Ministry personnel.
The fact that the Beslan hostage takers reportedly demanded talks not only with the president of North Ossetia, Aleksandr Dzasokhov, but also with Ingushetia's President Murat Zyazikov would substantiate the hypothesis that at least some of the hostage takers are ethnic Ingush.
And if the hostage takers are Ingush, there is a logical explanation why they should have sought a target not in their home republic but in neighboring North Ossetia. The Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is an anomaly in the North Caucasus on several counts. First, its population is Christian, not Muslim (their patron saint is St. George). And as Dzasokhov pointed out in a recent article published in "Nezavisimaya gazeta," the Ossetians were the only Caucasian ethnic group that voluntarily petitioned the tsar (in 1774) for their territory to be absorbed into the Russian Empire. Second, they are the only ethnic group in the North Caucasus to speak an Indo-European language (part of the Iranian language group).
More important, however, there is bad blood between the Ingush and Ossetians. The Ingush, like the Chechens, were deported en masse to Kazakhstan in 1944 on the orders of Soviet leader Josef Stalin on suspicion of sympathizing with Nazi Germany. The Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was then formally abolished, and its westernmost Prigorodnyi Raion incorporated into North Ossetia. Following Secretary-General Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 "secret speech" to the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a green light was given for the repatriation of the exiled peoples, including the Chechens and Ingush, and for the reformation of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, albeit within different borders: Prigorodnyi Raion remained part of North Ossetia.
In October 1992, just months after the Checheno-Ingush ASSR split into its two separate components, the Ingush and Ossetians fought a brief but brutal war for control of Prigorodnyi Raion. Up to 500 people were killed within less than a week, and the Ingush population of not only Prigorodnyi Raion but North Ossetia as a whole -- variously estimated at between 35,000 and 60,000 people -- was forcibly displaced by North Ossetian security forces reinforced by Russian army troops. Most of them fled to neighboring Ingushetia. Over the past 12 years, and especially since Dzasokhov's election as North Ossetian president in 1998, efforts have been made to enable Ingush to return, but with minimal success.
For RFE/RL news coverage of the Russian hostage crisis in North Ossetia, see "Russian Authorities Negotiate In Southern Hostage Crisis" and "At Least Two Dead In North Ossetian School Standoff".
You might be right, and I'll keep my mind "wide" for the moment. But as it stands now, there are the reports of the government which had access to all the terrorists and their bodies, and a few school children who did not. I saw one boy who was so traumatized, he didn't remember his or his parents' names. So, objectively, you cannot conclude that they were not Arabs.
This article indicates at least one perpetrator is Muslim, in his own words.
I did not claim that the perpetrators were not Muslim. Apparently this is the majority religion in Chechnya. I questioned whether the hostage takers were Arabs as stated by the authorities, but denied by the survivor accounts I have read. I would believe the survivors over government spokemen who may have various agendas that cause them to lie.
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