Saturday, October 04, 2003

CHECHNYA'S RAPE: Why is the world over-zealously focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Why so many United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Palestinian conflict? Why the media attention on Ramallah? Forget Palestine. Chechnya is worse -- far worse.

When the Soviet Union broke up, Chechnya declared independence. The world failed to recognize the little nation, though its people probably suffered more from Russian savagery than any other on earth. In 1944, Stalin sent 75% of the entire Chechen people to Siberian concentration camps. For the past 250 years, Russia resorted to genocide to crush attempts by Chechen to regain their independence. After Chechen fighters routed a KGB invasion force in mid-1994, whose goal was the overthrow of President Dudayev, Moscow sent in the Russian Army in December, 1994. Since then, Russian forces have killed 40,000 Chechens and laid waste the country. Two thousand Chechen `disappeared' after being arrested by KGB and Interior Ministry units. Human rights organizations accuse Russian forces of mass executions, bloodthirsty reprisals, and widespread torture. They pounded their own city, Grozny, to rubble and are murdering Russian civilians in the process. Their conquest of Grozny completed a methodical campaign of brutality. Since October of 2000, more than 100,000 Russian troops have inched through Chechnya, leveling villages with low-precision artillery and dumb bombs. This "War on Terror" has killed many Chechen guerrillas and civilians and has turned most of the survivors into refugees. In its indiscriminate use of firepower against civilian targets, it is as bad as anything since World War II. The war against the Chechens, who are despised as Muslim terrorists in slavic Russia, is payback for the humiliating defeat in 1989 in Afghanistan, for the humiliating defeat during the first war against the Chechens in 1996 and for NATO's bombing of Serbia. Chechnya's rape continues today -- and the United States, Britain and India have become Russia's willing executioners.

Why are the Russians getting a free pass on Saddam-like behavior? Why are these countries abetting and turning a blind eye to Russia's crimes? It's easy to see why Putin's government wants to link Chechnya to more complex issues like India's presence in Kashmir and the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. It's a lot harder to understand why New Delhi, Washington and London would allow this blatant case of Russian imperial overstay and support of a farce to blight their already difficult relations with the countries of the Muslim world.

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