Friday, September 03, 2004


Lessons from Beslan

The Guardian has two excellent commentaries (from John Kampfner and Simon Tisdall) that I highly recommend. From Kampfner:
But after the shock, after the anger and the grieving for those who have died, what then? The immediate response is despondency and despair. Putin's iron fist has got nowhere. This was a man who promised to restore order after what his supporters call the "chaos" of the Yeltsin years, including Chechnya. After two military invasions, thousands dead, rigged elections and countless bomb attacks in Moscow and the Caucasus, he appears further away than ever from victory in his own war on terror.
From Tisdall:
Britain and others can hide behind the pretence that, as Putin maintains, violence in the Caucasus is just another front in the US-led "war on terror" - and close their eyes to causes and remedies. They can give Putin what he wants, which is carte blanche to do whatever he deems necessary. Or they can find the courage to change the habit of the past decade. They can dispense with the sort of mealy-mouthed, turpitudinous shuffling-about indulged in by France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schröder at their recent meeting with Putin. And they can insist instead that in return for active western support, Russia must finally accept the obvious: that Chechnya is a pressing, international problem requiring an agreed, collective, non-violent, international response.

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