JOURNO REMEMBERS AN AFTERNOON'S TEA WITH CHECHNYAN WARLORD
Russian Special Forces claim they attacked and killed the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev yesterday. Locals in Ingushetia, Chechnya, claim he was killed when explosives in a truck in his convoy was driving detonated prematurely.
Whatever. The terrorist responsible for the horrors of the Beslan school massacre, amongst the many, has been identified by what was left of his decapitated head and Russia's president Vladimir Putin is one very happy man.
He got his Osama Bin Laden.
Basayev was killed during alleged preparations for a terrorist attack that was aimed to""to bring political pressure on Russia during the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg", scheduled for this weekend.
There's the Wahhabi link again, the brutal, suppressive and anti-human rights interpretation of Islam that has been fostered and spread across the Middle East, and on throughout the rest of the world, most primarily by the House Of Saud, Britain and the US.
"This is deserved retribution against the bandits for our children in Beslan, in Budyonovsk, for all these acts of terror they committed in Moscow and other Russian regions, including Ingushetia and Chechnya," Mr. Putin said commenting on the killing of Basayev.
The elimination of Basayev came three weeks after Chechen rebel "President" Abdul Khalim Saidullayev was killed. Warlord Doku Umarov, who took over from Saidullayev, appointed Basayev "Vice-President".
Basayev was responsible for most major rebel attacks in Chechnya and other regions of Russia, including a daring raid on a hospital in Budyonovsk in 1995 and the September 2004 attack on a school in Beslan, in which 331 hostages were killed.
When Russian troops pulled out in 1996 and Chechnya prepared to elect a "President" to lead it to de facto independence, Basayev ran for the post.
He lost to the late rebel commander Aslan Maskhadov and became his deputy. While Maskhadov was regarded as comparatively moderate, Basayev became an adherent of the Wahhabi sect of Islam which has its roots in Saudi Arabia.
Wahhabi was virtually unknown in the Middle East in the early part of last century. But it was seen by British occupiers of the region as being a vital and effective method of controlling the disparate Arab tribes.
The House Of Saud became great promoters of Wahhabi, which bans the use of alcohol, music and crushes women's rights, although few of the royal princes themselves adhere to its tenents.
The House Of Saud remains keepers of Islam's holiest shrines, including Mecca, and are Bush Co's number one ally (under the radar), mostly due to its control of one quarter of the world's oil reserves.
The LA Times has an interesting profile of Shamil Basayev from a journalist who took afternoon tea with the terrorist back in the mid-199os :
"At the time I met him in 1995, he was known as a guerrilla leader, a fighter in the Chechen resistance. He was not considered a terrorist in the West. But in the months and years that followed, as the Chechen conflict grew darker and more desperate, his tactics changed.
"For the next 11 years, he wreaked previously unimaginable horrors upon Russia. He masterminded assaults on a school, a hospital and a Moscow theater that killed an estimated 600 people, including 300 children.
"I met Basayev in April 1995 as a Times Moscow correspondent covering Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin's war to keep the then-obscure region of Chechnya from seceding. Russian forces had just captured the Chechen capital, Grozny, after a long siege and devastating bombing campaign that had terrorized the civilian population. Downtown Grozny looked like the pictures of Dresden just after World War II: skeletons of buildings standing amid rubble as far as the eye could see.
"The Chechen rebels had been routed, but we heard they had headed for their mountain redoubt in Vedeno, where Basayev was in command, and we went to find them.
"The Chechens were hospitable people and very pro-American. They loved Ronald Reagan for branding their ancient enemies "the evil empire." They hollered "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") but compared themselves to the American colonists fighting the British empire. At that time they still expected President Clinton to come to their aid, just as the United States had helped the Afghan mujahedin fight the Soviet invaders."