Chechnya: impending nuclear
Russian troops continue
pounding Chechyn separatist strongholds. Western press gleefully
gives the news of considerable loss to Russian troops in terms of men and
material. Their estimates speak of about three thousand Russian soldiers
killed during the fresh assault, although Russian official sources place
the losses at five hundred. In any case, the Russians have maintained pressure
on the separatists and pinned them down to their mountain fastnesses.
The news has come in that the Taliban Islamic
regime of Afghanistan has formally announced their recognition of independent
Chechyn Republic. Though the headquarters of Taliban are in Peshawar, the
capital of the NWFP of Pakistan, yet the announcement of recognition was
made from Kandahar, the seat of Mulla Omar, the Taliban chief.
Though the details of the discussion on the issue
in the Taliban shura (assembly) are not available, yet Taliban foreign
minister, Mulla Ahmad Mutwakkil said in an interview that for quite some
time their regime had been thinking of according formal recognition to
Chechyn republic. This was, however, accelerated by the Russian attack
Mutwakkil said that the first step after recognition
of the Chechyn Republic would be that they could appoint their ambassador
in Afghanistan. Thereafter, he disclosed, the Taliban would consider extending
economic and military support to the Chechyn Republic to meet the threat
from the Russians. This means re-enactment of mujahideen role on the borders
Tthis decision of the Taliban came on the heels
of a significant development in Moscow. Only two days ago, Moscow announced
that Russian Federation had formulated a new security doctrine that was
an improvement on the one announced in 1996. The Acting President, Vladimir
Putin approved the 21-page doctrine. Among other things, it says that Russia
would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if the insurgents and other destabilizing
forces out to work towards disintegration of Russia, threatened its integrity
Some political analysts think that this step has
been taken in the background of intensified fighting in Chechnya and the
possibility of its escalation. But others think that for some time, Moscow
has been uneasy with what it has called the steady encroachment of NATO
in Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
As a matter of fact, Russian disapproval of NATOís
role began with the latterís air attacks on Yugoslavia, once a strong East
European ally of the erstwhile Soviet Union. That marked the determination
of Russia not to allow the Western powers to sideline her in European and
global strategies as a power and make her irrelevant.
In another development, the 41-member European
community is sending its delegation to Moscow to discuss Chechnyan situation.
The British representative, John Russell, heading the delegation, has made
no bones of what the delegation intends to convey to Moscow. He said that
the European community might consider expulsion of Russia from its membership
if it does not halt what it calls violation of human rights in Chechnya
by the Russian troops.
Nobody doubts the double standards employed by
the European community and the US in regard to the violation of human rights.
The imposition of economic sanctions on Iraq depriving millions of infants
from milk and essential medicines are not considered violation of human
rights by them. Likewise, the heavy bombardment of Yugoslavia destroying
the vital infrastructure in that country and crippling civilian administration
with disastrous consequences for the populace are not violation of human
rights in their lexicon.
Chechnyan affair is much more complicated than
what may appear at the surface. If it were just a separatist movement,
perhaps its resolution could be envisioned in terms of negotiations. But
Chechnya is the hotbed of Islamic fundamentalist activities aimed at disintegration
of Russian Federation by fanning religious frenzy among the local Muslim
population. The Wahhabi ideology emanating from Saudi Arabia with strong
and effective disseminating centres in Pakistan and Taliban Afghanistan,
is entrenched in Chechnyan Muslim segment.
Apart from ideological subversion, the Chechyn
fighting men are provided with an inventory of latest automatic and other
lethal weapons forming part of the supplies made earlier by the Americans
to the Afghan mujahideen during the war with Soviet Union. Now the Chechyn
separatist cadres receive enormous arms, ammunition and funding directly
from a number of Islamic organizations world over, and indirectly from
some of the theocratic Islamic States with an agenda of boosting Wahhabi
ideology in the Caucasus and Central Asian region.
The role of Osama Bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi
Islamic warlord responsible for the bomb attacks on two American embassies
in Africa in August 1998 resulting in the killing of several hundred innocent
people, cannot be overlooked. Osma is reported to be hiding in Afghanistan
and is protected by the Taliban. Talks between Taliban and American authorities
for the extradition of Osma have not yielded any result, The Taliban proudly
say that Afghans donít betray a guest.
But there is something more than that in the story.
There are rumours that the 15-year old daughter of Osama Bin Laden is married
to Mull Omar, the Taliban chief. Though some Taliban official sources have
tried to contradict this rumour, yet it is getting rounds again. As such,
extradition of Osama, as demanded by the Americans, may never materialize.
This must have been one of the factors that made the Taliban decide to
grant recognition to Chechyn Republic.
The Afghan fighting force - Taliban - have, evidently,
become the strong muscle for propagation and dissemination of Wahhabi ideology.
This means that the Taliban and their cohorts among known extremist organizations
would be taking on Russia even if the Chechyn crisis is somehow resolved.
This is the agenda of these organizations. Significantly, the Pakistani
Jamaat-e-Islami chief has recently pronounced that they would not allow
Pakistanís military regime to sign CTBT under the US pressure because the
nuclear bomb produced by Pakistan belonged not only to Pakistan but also
to the entire Muslim ummah. In other words, it means that in the context
of Chechyn crisis, it is not only the separatists, but the entire Islamic
ummah that is pitted against the Russians. Pakistan (its extremist religious
organizations or the regimes) would undoubtedly give a befitting response
to Russia if the latter decides to use nuclear weapons in Chechyn war.
Do we have the real nuclear flash point in Kashmir or in the Caucasus?