* Il ruolo delle multinazionali del petrolio nella guerra in Caucaso
(da "Morning Star Daily")

* Il ruolo dei Lupi Grigi turchi nella "guerra santa" cecena ("Il
Manifesto" / CNNitalia)
* Una serie di articoli e dispacci d'agenzia sui rapporti tra terrorismo
ceceno e Taliban afghano-pakistani (Daily Telegraph, Reuters, AFP, AP)
* Una "jihad" in Cecenia (stopnato@...)

* La posizione del Partito Comunista degli USA sulla crisi cecena (da
"People's Weekly World", organo ufficiale del PCUSA)


> Stec's Commie-Pinko List -
> The following article was published in the Morning Star daily newspaper on
> January 19, 2000.
> The Politics of Oil
> By Kenny Coyle
> The break-up of the Soviet Union released enormous resources that had been
> denied to Western transnational corporations for decades.
> In the early years of the 20th century, oil from the Russian Caucuses
> accounted for nearly half of all oil produced in the world. The oil
> district of Grozny was, next to Baku, the most important Russian oil area
> before the revolution and by 1915 accounted for about 18% of Russian oil
> production. The oil fields at Baku provided almost all the remainder.
> More than half the investment in Russian oil came from abroad. Before
> World War I, the total investment in the Russian oil industry was $214
> million, $130 million of that represented foreign capital. Great Britain
> was particularly active in Russia, providing more than 60% of the foreign
> capital.
> In the former Soviet Union, Grozny oil was at one time quite important,
> accounting for one-third of national production in 1932. In the
> post-Soviet era the importance of Grozny oil for the Russian economy has
> diminished greatly but its importance as a regional producer increased.
> Over the years, Grozny became a key oil pipeline crossroads, oil refining
> centre and also a juncture for natural gas from fields in Russia and
> Central Asia.

> The vast oil fields of Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and in the
> North Caucasus of Russia have always been a target for invasion. It was to
> secure unimpeded access to these riches, as much as for the symbolic
> associations with the city's name, that Hitler threw division after
> division at Stalingrad in World War II.
> Access to these newly available resources is an enormous boon for Western
> imperialism. The US is determined not to have to rely on the unstable
> Middle East for supplies. However, as recent events in Venezuela, now one
> of the largest national suppliers of oil to the USA, have shown, nowhere
> is truly safe.

> Prising open the oil fields grouped beneath and around the Caspian Sea
> have been a key strategic target of the US in the past decade. BP Amoco,
> Texaco, Mobil, Chevron and other US and foreign companies have already
> spent over a billion dollars on developing the Caspian oil resources. They
> are drawing on a whole spectrum of Cold War foreign policy figures from
> the US and Britain to cash in on the region.

> Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser under President
> Carter and a key figure in securing initial US support for the Afghan
> mujahidin, is a consultant to Amoco.

> James Baker, a former US Secretary of State, runs a law practice in
> Houston doing business for the oil companies, where he is able to use his
> friendship with his former Soviet counterpart Edward Shevardnadze, and now
> president of Georgia.

> Former US National Security Adviser, Brent Scowcroft, advises Pennzoil and
> the multinational Azerbaijan consortium. Dick Cheney, President Bush's
> Secretary of Defence, is now chief executive of Halliburton of Houston,
> the world's largest oilfield services company.

> Azerbaijan is also a favourite destination for the British oil companies
> such as Monument and Ramco. Timothy Eggar, who as British Energy Minister
> led a delegation to Baku in 1994, is now chief executive of Monument Oil,
> while former Foreign Minister Malcolm Rifkind sits on the board of Ramco.
> In October 1997, Le Monde Diplomatique wrote: "The negotiation of oil
> contracts enabled Washington to show a direct interest in the region. The
> US government sees it as an extra source of energy, should Persian Gulf
> oil be threatened. It also wants to detach the former Soviet republics
> from Russia both economically and politically, so as to make the formation
> of a Moscow-led union impossible.

> In an article published in the spring, former [US] Defence Secretary
> Caspar Weinberger wrote that if Moscow
> succeeded in dominating the Caspian, it would achieve a greater victory than the
> expansion of NATO would be for the West."

> US policy therefore has both a tactical economic aspect and a longer-term
> strategy to further weaken Russia.

> The most crucial question for oil supply though is the route chosen for
> delivery. Unlike the Persian Gulf, none of the oil producing states of
> Caucasus offer the possibility of shipment to the West by tanker, since
> the Caspian Sea is essentially a huge inland lake. The alternative is the
> construction of a super pipeline from Central Asia to either the
> Mediterranean or the Persian Gulf.
> For several years, two rival pipeline projects have been mooted. US
> corporations Amoco, Exxon, Pennzoil and Unocal lead the Azerbaijan
> International Oil Consortium (AIOC), comprising Chechnya's neighbour,
> Azerbaijan, and 11 Western companies. Its aim is to construct a pipeline
> to carry Azeri oil from the Caspian seabed. US petroleum concerns are
> currently responsible for more than 50% of oil investment in Azerbaijan.
> The government of Azerbaijan is possibly the most pro-US in the region,
> offering its territory for US military bases and seeking integration into
> Nato through 'big brother', Turkey.
> Meanwhile, the Russians put together a Caspian Pipeline Consortium to run
> a pipeline from the Tengiz fields of Kazakhstan across Russia to the port
> of Novorossisk on the Black Sea and to link this with a pipeline extending
> northwest from Baku.
> However, to do this the pipeline from Baku would have to run through
> either Chechnya, which has been virtually inoperable because of the
> renewed conflict, or neighbouring Dagestan, itself the target of several
> Chechen mujahidin incursions in August 1999.

> The US government insisted from the outset that the pipeline, expected to
> carry one million barrels per day, run from the Azerbaijani capital, Baku,
> to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The shortest route to Turkey
> leads through Armenia. But Azerbaijan and Armenia broke off all relations
> after a brutal war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. This route
> does, however, pass through Chechnya's other near neighbour, Georgia,
> despite the fact that this detour is double the cost of a shorter path
> between Azerbaijan and Iran. Washington's aim is to ensure that oil
> supplies are free from Russian and Iranian influence.

> The Istanbul Protocol, signed late last year during the OSCE conference in
> the Turkish city, is a significant victory for the plans of the US and
> Turkey. The New York Times of November 19 1999 bluntly described it as
> "one of President Clinton's cherished foreign policy projects, a pipeline
> that would assure Western control over the potentially vast oil and
> natural gas reserves".

> While US Secretary of Energy, Bill Richardson, enthused: "This is a major
> foreign policy victory. It is a strategic agreement that advances
> America's national interest."

> Inevitably, many Russians believe that destabilisation in the Caucasus
> represents a Western plot to monopolise energy resources in the region.
> While this has a certain simplistic aspect to it, ignoring as it does the
> other complex factors, it nonetheless expresses a certain truth. The
> expansion of Western imperialist influence eastward demands the further
> break-up of Russia and the wresting of her rich energy resources from her
> grasp, piece by piece.


Da "Il manifesto" del 22 Gennaio 2000:

La guerra santa cecena parte da Istanbul

Per molti dei suoi protagonisti, la guerra in Cecenia inizia nelle
strade di Istanbul. E' qui, nella metropoli turca, che convergono da
tutto il mondo islamico i mujaheddin, i guerriglieri della guerra santa.
Gli stesso soldati volontari che stanno opponendo una strenua resistenza
alle forze russe che assediano Grozny. La Turchia è il principale
alleato degli indipendentisti ceceni. Oggi in Turchia vivono circa 3
milioni persone di origine cecena, circassa, abkhasiana, tutte
popolazioni che - sin dai tempi dell'impero ottomano - hanno legami
molto stretti con la Turchia secolare ma islamica. Ogni settimana i
gruppi islamici turchi e i Lupi grigi organizzano manifestazioni contro
la Russia. Ci sono anche alcuni quartieri di Istanbul dove i Lupi grigi
gestiscono le moschee e le organizzazioni commerciali. E' in queste
moschee della periferia di Istanbul che, dopo la preghiera, vengono
raccolte le offerte dei fedeli per aiutare i profughi ceceni (e
probabilmente anche i militari al fronte). Alla moschea di Fatih, uno
dei luoghi di culto più antichi di Istanbul, il network filo-ceceno
arruola ogni giorno uomini da mandare al fronte, raccoglie denaro e
organizza manifestazioni. Anche alla moschea di Beyazit, sotto il
controllo di alcuni gruppi sunniti, ogni venerdì dopo la preghiera la
gente manifesta in favore dei "martiti di Grozny". Sui siti internet che
fanno capo ai diversi filoni del movimento ceceno compaiono preghiere
per i combattenti di Cecenia. E chi si mette in contatto con loro si
sente inevitabilemte offrire di "compiere il proprio dovere" in
Cecenia... In queste ore, mentre
il conflitto si intensifica e vive le sue giornate più drammatiche, gli
sforzi sono stati moltiplicati. Secondo alcune stime, sarebbero tra i 3
e i 5 mila i mujaheddin stranieri transitati dalla Turchia in direzione
Cecenia. Questo movimento non è certo avvenuto senza il tacito consenso
del governo di Ankara. Anzi, non è più un mistero per nessuno il fatto
che a Duzce, una città tra Istanbul e Ankara, ci sia il principale campo
addestramento di guerriglieri ceceni. D'inverno il campo di Duzce è
costantemente immerso nella neve e il paesaggio che lo circonda ricorda
molto da vicino quello delle montagne del Caucaso. E anche i legami
storici ed etnici tra Duzce e il Caucaso sono molto forti, perché è
proprio qui che molte popolazioni caucasiche furono costrette ad
amigrare durante i tanti conflitti tra ottomani e russi. A Istanbul,
invece, stanno proliferando le associazioni più o meno umanitarie che
hanno obiettivo quello di fornire aiuto ai ceceni. La più attiva si
chiama Kafkafasya Yardimlasma Dernegi...

( da un articolo di Ali Isingor, messo in rete dall )



Daily Telegraph (UK)
ISSUE 1697Monday 17 January 2000
Afghan spectre over Chechnya
By Marcus Warrenin Zamai-Yuri

THE battle for Grozny and the struggle for control of Chechnya are far
from over, with the Russian army now faced with guerrilla warfare waged
by the rebels.

Unpleasant memories: the rough terrain of Chechnya reminds some Russian
officers of the Afghan region
The military may occupy the snow-capped ridges in the Caucasus but some
officers are disturbed by the terrain's resemblance to Afghanistan,
where the Mujahideen humbled the Soviet army in the Eighties. Adding to
their worries, the Chechen rebels are deploying the same tactics as the
victorious Afghans, launching small raiding parties of no more than 10
men to harry the Russians.
Some Chechen fighters are believed to have trained in Afghanistan and
one of their most feared warlords, Khattab, began his military career
fighting Soviet troops there. Col Vladimir Kruglov, a paratroop officer
and Afghan veteran, said: "They use the same methods; they are financed
by the same people and some of their leaders are the same as well."
The Chechen Defence Minister, Magomed Khambiyev, was quoted by Russia's
Interfax news agency yesterday as saying that rebel commanders had
decided at a meeting to declare a hit-and-run war on Russia.
"The period of battles for strategic positions is coming to an end," the
agency quoted Mr Khambiyev as saying. "From now on the tactic of a
guerrilla war will mainly be used. We do not set ourselves the aim of
entering populated areas and holding them. Our aim is to smash separate
units and to retire to repeat the operation in a new place."
Gen Gennady Troshev, one of Russia's best known military chiefs,
relieved of his command a week ago but now apparently back in charge,
said: "They approach, open fire and then hide. And the next morning they
smile at you in the streets."
To combat the guerrillas he advocated even stricter policing of the
territory under Russian control, with special emphasis on thorough
house-to-house searches. He said that until now the searches have been
perfunctory. "Every house without exception will be checked," he said.
"And they will be searched a second time without warning and at random."
Small-scale raids on Russian positions were a problem in the hills near
Zamai-Yurt, but they were clearly not the main reason that Gen Troshev
had flown by helicopter to the Russian base there. His main
preoccupations are Grozny, the Chechen capital, which is obstinately
refusing to surrender, and the counter-attack by the rebels early last
After weeks in which the Russian army admitted losing only a handful of
men, if that, every day, the latest official casualty figures have
jumped much higher to as many as 26 in one ambush and even more every
day. "Aviation and the artillery will do their work and only then will
the troops go in," Gen Troshev said. "The weather today is good," he
said, pointing at a blue sky. What are we going to do? We are going to
kill more bandits."
European Union foreign ministers are to meet next Monday to debate
possible sanctions against Moscow over its intervention in Chechnya.
Afghanistan's Taliban regime said yesterday that it has recognised the
rebel government in Chechnya and its independence from the Russian
Federation, the Afghan Islamic Press reported.
The Taliban's supreme leader, Mulla Mohammad Omar, took the decision
after a meeting in Kandahar with a visiting Chechen delegation. It was
not clear whether the Taliban would help the Chechens militarily.


Mon, Jan 17 at Prague 09:27 pm, N.Y. 03:27 pm
Afghan Taleban Recognize Chechen Gov't
KABUL, Jan 17, 2000 -- (Reuters) Afghanistan's ruling Taleban Islamic
movement on Sunday became the first government to recognize the
breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya but said it could hardly give any
help to Chechens in their conflict with Moscow.
The formal recognition was agreed by Taleban supreme leader Mullah
Mohammad Omar during a meeting with a Chechen delegation on Sunday at
his headquarters in the southern Afghan town of Kandahar, Taleban
Foreign Minister Abdul Wakil Muttawakil told a Pakistan-based Afghan
news service.
Mullah Omar agreed that the Chechen government "can open its diplomatic
mission in Kabul from today", a Taleban spokesman told Reuters in the
Afghan capital.
It was the first time any government had recognized rebel Chechnya and
comes as a bloody four-month-old Russian military campaign against the
rebels is facing strong resistance in the regional capital Grozny and in
the south.
"The delegation requested the Taleban leader to recognize the Chechen
government, and the Taleban leader accepted this request on the basis of
Islamic brotherhood and recognized the Chechen government," the private
Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted Muttawakil as saying by telephone from
He said the Taleban, itself struggling for international recognition,
had intended to recognize Chechnya anyway but that the urgency of such a
move had increased because of the Russian assault.
Asked if the Taleban could help the Chechens fight the Russian
offensive, a Taleban spokesman, Tayeb Agha, said Mullah Omar had told
the Chechen delegation that his movement had "limited ability in terms
of giving such help".
The Taleban government, accused by the West of helping international
terrorism is fighting a northern-based opposition alliance and is
recognized by only three countries - Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates.
Moscow has repeatedly accused the Taleban and some Pakistan-based
militant groups of training warriors to fight Russia in Chechnya. The
Taleban and Pakistan deny the charges.
The Taleban government, which controls about 90 percent of Afghanistan,
in turn accuses Russia of helping the opposition alliance that holds the
remainder of the country, which Moscow had occupied in the 1980s under
the former Soviet Union.

Mon, Jan 17 at Prague 09:35 pm, N.Y. 03:35 pm
Afghan Taliban Call On Muslim World To Recognize Chechnya
KABUL, Jan 17, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Afghanistan's ruling
Taliban militia Monday called on the Muslim world to join Kabul in
opening diplomatic relations with the rebel government in Chechnya.
Taliban Minister of Information Qudratullah Jamal said the religious
militia was not worried about reprisals from Moscow a day after his
regime became the first to recognize the breakaway republic.
"It is the obligation of all Muslims to recognize the Chechen
government, which is a big support and cooperation for them," he told
reporters in Kabul.
"We should always cooperate with Muslims, particularly those who demand
this cooperation to enable them to live in Islam and freedom," the
minister said.
Ironically only three countries recognize the Taliban, who now control
most of Afghanistan, as the country's legitimate rulers.
Afghanistan's UN seat is held by the former government and only
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have diplomatic
relations with the militia.
Jamal said the Taliban had not yet decided whether to open a mission in
the embattled Grozny or to give military aid to Chechen fighters.
"We accepted their two demands: official recognition and the opening of
an embassy here. The military aid has not been considered yet," he said.
The Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar on Sunday officially
recognized the Chechen rebel government and allowed it to open a
political mission in the Afghan capital.
The permission was secured after a visiting Chechen delegation met Mulla
Omar on Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar, home to the Taliban
"We are not afraid if Russia imposes sanctions on us or threatens us
occasionally," Jamal said.
"The Russians have not recognized us. We are independent. Everybody is
doing his own business," he said.
Moscow, which still recognizes the anti-Taliban leader and ex-president
Burhanuddin Rabbani, has threatened to sever diplomatic ties with any
country which starts formal relations with Chechen rebel regime.
Moscow offers political and military aid to Rabbani and his military
strongman Ahmad Shah Masood, who is battling the Taliban in his
northeastern pockets of resistance.
"Their asistance to our opposition is not a secret anymore. They back
the opposition to the best of their ability whether or not we recognize
Chechnya," Jamal said.
The minister said no place for Chechen embassy in Kabul has been chosen
He also would not reveal how the six-strong Chechen delegation, led by
Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev a rebel official, traveled into Afghanistan. ((c)
2000 Agence France Presse)


Chechens to open Afghan embassy
By AMIR SHAH Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Chechen rebels will open an embassy in the
Afghan capital of Kabul, the Taliban's Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed
Muttawakil said Friday.
In a joint press conference with Chechen rebel spokesman Zelimkhan
Banderayev, Muttawakil urged Muslims worldwide to rally behind the
Chechens in their bitter war for independence against Russia.
The Taliban, the orthodox Islamic army which rules Afghanistan, is the
only government so far to officially recognize an independent Chechnya.
The move has drawn fire from Russia, which accuses the Taliban of
sending material and men to help the rebels.
But Muttawakil said the Taliban have nothing to offer Chechnya because
they are in the middle of a war of their own against a northern-based
opposition, led by ousted defense chief Ahmed Shah Massood.
``Unfortunately we have nothing left in this country and what we have we
are using to face our opposition,´´ he said.
The Taliban controls about 90 percent of Afghanistan. Only three
countries recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Muttawakil likened Russia's attack on Chechnya to the 1980s invasion of
Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union. Then, he said, Muslims from
around the world came to Afghanistan to help defeat the former Red Army,
which eventually negotiated a withdrawal from Afghanistan after 10
``Muslim people came from all over the world to help Afghanistan, Now
the Muslim people should help the Chechen people,´´ he said.
Banderayev sharply criticized the international community and the United
Nations for doing too little to stop the Russian assault on Chechnya.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 12:07:46 -0000
From: MR JAVIER BERNAL <988005350@...>
Subject: A jihad in Chechnya (+ personal comments)


I have added some comments. Please, read them.

Javier Bernal

A jihad in Chechnya
By Kenny Coyle

Islam is one of the world's great religions and probably the most
misunderstood in the West. Ignorance of Islam has led to an essentially
racist 'Islamophobia', on the one hand, which fears Moslem populations
states, equating the faith with terrorism.

However, a second error is to ignore the rise of reactionary political
social movements simply because they express themselves in Islamic
vocabulary and theology.

This is like confusing Liberation Theology with the conservative and
pro-fascist wing of the Catholic hierarchy. For socialists, determining
nature of these politico-religious movements must be based on their
outlook rather than their theology.

The recent recognition of the breakaway Chechen republic by the Taliban
government of Afghanistan highlights the increasingly open and formal
between the Chechen mujahidin and outside powers. In November 1998, a
high-level Chechen delegation led by Abdul Wahid Ibrahim had visited
Afghanistan to lay the ground for open recognition.

As was noted in a previous article, the populations of the northern
Caucasus are primarily, although not exclusively, Moslem. But it has
the Sufi wing of Islam that is rooted there. Sufi Islam adapted to local
pre-Islamic beliefs and often incorporated local rites and customs.

However, this places it in opposition to the Wahhabi school of Islam, an
18th century movement aimed at purifying Islam and returning to basic
Koranic concepts. It is this wing of Islam that is best described as
'fundamentalist', although only in the same sense that right-wing
Protestants in the US who hold to the literal truth of the Bible can be
regarded as 'Christian fundamentalists'. In both cases, these are
conservative social movements with definite political agendas.

Anatol Lieven, author of a book on Chechnya noted: "The 'Wahhabis' in
North Caucasus used to number a few, with minimal influence; but
radicalisation produced by the war, the arrival of former Arab mujahidin
who had served in Afghanistan and, above all, Arab money, have since
made a strong impact.
"During the Cold War, Islamic movements, such as the Muslim
Brotherhood, were encouraged by Middle Eastern regimes to combat
secular communist parties and pan-Arab nationalism. However, three other
factors have seen the emergence of new Islamicist movements since the
1960s. First, in response to widespread radicalisation caused by the
Palestinian struggle, local conservative regimes saw it as essential to
push at least some of these radicals away from a broader
perspective and to focus on a 'holy war' against the Jews and their
Christian backers. Second, the oil wealth that transformed the hitherto
backward and conservative Gulf states also created a revulsion against
consumerism and the local 'playboy' ruling classes. The Wahhabi
movement, which had its origins in the Gulf, won many new and often rich
converts. It was a Saudi-born millionaire, the infamous Osama Bin Laden,
who set up the International Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews
Crusaders. Third, and quite crucially, as part of imperialism's efforts
to roll
back communism, vast quantities of arms and foreign volunteers were made
available to fight the revolutionary government of Afghanistan and its
Soviet ally. The US used Pakistan as the conduit for these efforts. By
1987, some 65,000 tonnes of weapons were being transferred each year to
Afghanistan via Pakistan. A key source of funding for these covert
operations, as in other CIA-orchestrated ventures, has been the heroin
trade. Gulbaddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami mujahidin faction, itself
by the CIA and more directly by the Pakistani military, ran at least six
opium refining centres within Pakistan during the 1980s, according to
McCoy's 'The Politics of Heroin'. Bin Laden's personal fortune
multiplied during the same period. By 1996, the CIA itself reported that
"heroin is becoming the lifeblood of Pakistan's economy and political

Pakistan is now emerging as a nuclear power with regional ambitions.
Pakistan¹s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) was the main
channel for US and Saudi support for the Afghan mujahidin. Today it has
established its own control over the various mujahidin factions,
of course with the Taliban, which rapidly emerged from obscurity to fill
the power vacuum in Kabul in the mid-1990s. There are believed to be at
least 20 foreign mujahidin training camps located in Afghanistan and
another 80 on Pakistani territory.

Chechen separatist commander Shamil Basayev led a group of Chechens
to ISI-sponsored camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the mid-1990s.
In Afghanistan, the Chechens visited the ISI's training facilities in
Khost area, then run by Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami.A leading French
specialist on political Islamic movements Antoine Sfeir has stressed the
need to distinguish between 'Islamo-nationalists', such as Algeria's
Salvation Front and the Palestinian Hamas, whose primary concern is
domestic political change, and 'universalists', who regard existing
borders and national
distinctions as unimportant. It appears that a shift within the Chechen
movement has seen the increasing marginalisation of the
'Islamo-nationalists' and the
growing predominance of the 'universalists'.

The unilateral declaration of Chechen independence in October 1991 by
Dzhokar Dudayev was accompanied by the drafting of a secular
constitution. This was
now been set aside. The current Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov,
replaced the
secular legal system with Islamic Sharia law tribunals. However, this
was too little too
late for his deputy and rival Shamil Basayev. Explaining the cause of
the recent conflict,
Basayev told one Islamicist magazine last year: "We only see the
solution to the crisis
Chechnya with what agrees with the Islamic Sharia. In 1996, a solution
the problem was found not in accordance with the Sharia, which is why
war began a second time."

The Chechen rebel forces have three components. Aside from those locals
still loyal to the breakaway republic's leader Maskhadov, there are
whose allegiance is to Basayev¹s indigenous, but Islamicist, Chechen and
Dagestani forces. The third distinct force, but working entirely in
tandem with Basayev,
is led by an Arab mujahidin commander known as Ibn Khattab (Note: You
can also find
his name written as Ibn-ul-Khattab. Ibn -or Ben- means "Son of"). After
several years in
Afghanistan, Khattab moved in 1992 to Tajikistan to fight with the
Islamicist opposition.
In 1995 he moved to Chechnya and began training Chechen and other
To an interviewer, who asked if his forces contained mujahidin from
outside the
Caucasus, Khattab replied: "Yes, we do have mujahidin, but not from
outside, because
the Islamic nation is one nation that belongs to all the Muslims. We
have one common
purpose, which is to expel the Russian forces and to create an Islamic
State for all our
brothers." He added that Russia's military actions are a "Christian war
and crusade
against Islam and its people and it is an obligation upon the Muslims,
especially the
great scholars, to support their mujahidin brothers in the land of the
Using Sfeir¹s approach, we could place Maskhadov in the camp of
Khattab is clearly a 'universalist', and Basayev¹s group, aiming for a
Islamicist state, is a hybrid, which in practice leans toward the

Russia blamed the Chechen mujahidin for a series of terrorist bombings
in Moscow that
claimed 300 lives. Others suspected a pre-election ploy by pro-Yeltsin
security forces.
The truth is far from clear. In an interview with Associated Press last
Khattab had boasted that: "From now on they will get our bombs
everywhere. Let
Russia await our explosions blasting through their cities. I swear we
will do it." Yet on
the day of that interview's publication, Khattab told the Interfax news
agency that he
had nothing to do with the Moscow explosions, saying: "We would not like
to be akin to
those who kill sleeping civilians with bombs and shells." Further
Russian claims that the
Chechen mujahidin are directly linked to Osama Bin Laden are part of
attempt to win
over Western critics. The mujahidin internationally are deeply
factionalised and attempts
to establish any central co-ordinating centre have invariably
fragmented. The common
theme is that the various mujahidin groups seek patronage, arms,
training and money,
from various regimes, principally Pakistan, Iran and Sudan

(NOTE: I don't know why this columnist leave away the most important,
Saudi Arabia.
In my opinion, this feudal ultraconservative monarchy is using Religion
as an instrument
of power: Most of the critics say that US is backing caucasian republics
-Georgia, ...- to
get another way of getting cheap oil instead Persian Gulf countries, so
it should be good
for saudi purposes to finance a "friendly State" in North Caucasus. In
this way, they can
also control a share of the Caucasus oil politics. All this actions are
natural in a
monarchy who sold their people and the Pan-Arab revolt (Lawrence of
Arabia,...) in order
to mantain its bloody Power. One time more, the key can be found in

It is the intermeshing of the fanaticism of the mujahidin with the
foreign policy objectives
of their patron states that accounts for the instability and
unpredictability of these armed
Islamicist groups. This has become a crucial aspect of the current
conflict in the



CPUSA's 'People's Weekly World':

What’s behind the war
in Chechnya?

News Analysis

Local residents cry during a memorial ceremony as they came to pay last
respects to Maj. Gen. Mikhail Malofeyev, killed during fighting in
Grozny, 55 miles west of the Chechen border, Jan. 25.

People’s Weekly World Saturday, January 29, 2000 Page 3

By Gus Hall

Ever since Mikhail Gorbachev started dismantling socialism, the Soviet
Union has been confronted with secessionist movements in one republic
another. These secessions eventually led to the disintegration of the
of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

The separatist movements in the Soviet Union are part of the process of
privatization that led to the collapse of socialism within the republics
unleashed the secessionist forces throughout the USSR.

Besides a setback for socialism, this crisis is taking a terrible human
toll on all the peoples of the former Soviet Union. In Chechnya, the
guerrilla war of secession and the present conflict is causing
death and destruction.

From the very beginning, the USSR, as a fledgling socialist nation, had
hands full holding back the scourge of extreme nationalism and religious
fanaticism inherited from the past. One of the great feats of the
revolution was the molding of 500 nationalities into one great Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics.

However, these backward movements never completely died out. They were
alive by reactionary forces inside and outside the country.

Because the ideological and educational work was weak, these movements
never really challenged during the building of socialism. With the
advent of
the crisis, these secessionist movements were stirred up and supported
reactionary forces within the republics and by U.S. imperialism from the

World imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism, has momentarily won a
victory by supporting and encouraging all the "free market" capitalists
criminal elements that have fully emerged in control of Russia.

The Russian Federation, which is the largest country left of the USSR,
finds itself fighting another secessionist war caused by the same
extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism.

Understanding the current disaster, the loss of life on both sides, the
destruction of whole villages, cities and regions is not easy. The
propaganda, disinformation and misinformation makes it hard to sort out.

In this very complicated situation there are many factors to consider
understanding what is happening and what is at stake. We have a
responsibility to challenge the anti-Communist media fog that is keeping
people so confused.

There has yet to be an explanation of this situation from the Russian
Communists. And, of course, no one has explained anything in terms of
oil, the pipelines, privatization and corruption. A complete breakaway
Chechnya would be a bonanza for U.S. oil imperialism.

Whatever the political and military mistakes made by the Russian
and its military command, the direct cause of the conflict was and is
secession. This movement is largely made up of extreme nationalist and
reactionary religious armed forces drawn from inside and outside
itself. It is aided by U.S. political and financial support, especially

Just as Gorbachev’s capitulation to Estonian secession started the
dismemberment of the USSR, capitulation to Chechen secessionists would
signal the disintegration of the Russian Federation.

The disintegration of the USSR structure, devastation of its economy,
privatization and capitalist economic penetration, severe weakening of
and socialist enterprises and the outlawing of the Communist Party are
part of the crisis of socialism.

However, U.S. imperialism’s main objective is to direct and oversee the
complete transition to capitalism in Russia, with a massive penetration
U.S. multinational capital, while further reducing the wages and living
conditions, with the ultimate aim of making Russia into a semi-colony of
United States.

Some facts

First, Chechnya is not a republic. It never was. It has none of the
features that would define it as a republic.

Further, no one called it a republic until the Chechens announced they
seceding from the Russian Federation and accelerated their guerrilla war
with a force of Chechen mercenaries and Muslim extremists.

All of a sudden Chechnya became a "rebel republic" fighting for its
independence from "centuries of Russian oppression." Right-wing New York
Times columnist William Safire has called Chechnya the "breakaway
fighting for its homeland." But he also admits that "if Russia lets
go, other Caucasian dominoes will fall and Moscow will be denied its
Caspian oil."

There are no winners in the Chechen conflict

An Interior Ministry officer, right, checks the documents of a refugee
wants to return to Chechnya, at a border checkpoint between war-torn
Chechnya and the neighboring Russian region of Ingishetla, near
Sleptsovskaya, Jan. 25.

Oil- the bottom line

Thus, Chechnya is not a republic, a separate country or a nation. It is
also not a single, united ethnic group or nationality. The armed
struggle is
being waged as a Holy War, a Jihad, that calls for all Muslims to come
the aid of their "Chechen brethren."

However, the struggle is not really over religious differences. Calling
a Muslim Holy War is a smokescreen to cover up the real, underlying
cause of
the conflict. The bottom line in Chechnya is oil. It is one of the
oil-producting regions in the former USSR. Chechnya also has vast
gas deposits. It is a major chemical processing center.

Perhaps most importantly, Chechnya not only has vast reserves of oil,
also a vital pipeline running through its territory to the Caspian Sea.
issue is not only oil, but control of these pipelines.

When we say oil, we have to ask what roles Exxon, Standard Oil and
are playing in this situation. Wherever there is the combination of oil,
privatization and corruption, the oil cartels are deeply involved. They
actively making moves that will put them in position to pounce and
penetrate. Once they gain a foothold, it is very difficult to get rid of

One of the main factors in destroying socialism was, and is, political
corruption. Because of the oil and potential private profits, corruption
become an even bigger factor in the Chechnya region. In fact, the
to make huge profits from selling oil to U.S. and world imperialism
corrupted even some very top Communist leaders.

This corruption is directly related to the privatization of Russia.
Privatization and corruption go hand-in-hand. Privatizing socialist
property opens wide the doors to corruption and criminal elements of all

Historical backdrop

It is interesting to note that this region was one of the earliest
supporters of Boris Yeltsin and privatization. Its leaders quickly
corrupt opportunists. They were interested only in enriching themselves
selling out socialism to the "free marketplace of capitalism," where
could wheel and deal away socially-owned resources by privatizing them.

One of the main leaders was Djovkhar Dudayev, the self-proclaimed
of Chechnya who is a Yeltsin-created gangster. Like Gorbachev, he
the region independent and recruited former mercenaries from Afghanistan
other regions.

How is it possible for the Chechen guerrillas, poorly trained and
to hold off thousands of Russian troops with far superior weapons?
kept them fighting against insurmountable odds by resurrecting and
a backward ideology. He convinced many that they were "soldiers in a
liberating Holy War," based on national hatreds and religious

Yes, it is nationalist Muslim fanaticism, but it is also the
the political splits in the Russian government and military, the
and confusion, which is resulting in many more deaths and much more
destruction than was necessary to subdue the secessionist movement.

Betrayers of socialism

Yeltsin’s war policies were a reflection of his political and economic
policies. The conflicts between nationalities and ethnic groups, the
throwbacks to bitter clan warfare, nationalist extremism, separatism,
and discrimination have all been inflamed and fostered by Yeltsin and

Before him, it was the crimes of Gorbachev against socialism and the
people that started the ball of separatism and privatization rolling.
started, separatism and nationalism snowballed from one republic to
from one country to another.

The developments in Russia, Chechnya and other areas are an outgrowth
first Gorbachev’s and then Yeltsin’s policies. This led to the
that makes the people vulnerable to nationalism and secession.
backwardness, nationalism, extremist and fanatical religious beliefs
stirred up. Such backwardness cannot be fought without a socialist
to take its place.

Yeltsin is out mainly because he managed to alienate and infuriate not
his own people, but also his handlers and the right-wing majority in the
U.S. Congress. They want a Russia that can at least pass for bourgeois
democracy, moving steadily to privatize, to reform itself into a free
economy, controlled and dominated mainly by U.S. multinationals.

Global monopoly capital actually has two distinct approaches to
The multinationals and entrepreneurs, like McDonald’s or Pepsi, actually
prefer operating in conditions of disorder, instability and overall

On the other hand, finance capital, banking and international finance,
the International Monetary Fund, are looking for ripe conditions for
long-term capital investments. They demand stability and order. They
more guarantees that investment will be safe and profitable for
deals like oil and pipelines. They demand a reliable, cooperative
in control, and under their control. They want assurances that the
transition to capitalism is irreversible.

What’s at stake

Let me pose this question to Americans: how would we react if
with the threat of oilrich Oklahoma seceding from the United States,
declaring independence and demanding recognition as a new sovereign
You can believe that as soon as statemonopoly capital got wind of any
move, armed forces would immediately be sent in to squash it.

Thus, the future of the Russian Federation is directly involved in the
outcome of the Chechnya conflict. If Chechnya is allowed to secede,
are hundreds of other such areas that would move in the same direction.

It would not take long for the Russian Federation to disintegrate. The
cohesion, unity and very existence of Russia as a sovereign country is
stake. Also at stake are all the socialist structures and features
in the former republics. Secession would mean another big step backward
toward capitalism.

Chechnya is only one more example why ideological education is so
in the building and defense of a socialist society. This is especially
while there are still powerful, insatiable predators, with corporate
ready to pounce wherever socialism is weak, crippled and vulnerable.

Inadequate attention to the ideological struggle and the false concept
the ideological and class struggle are no longer valid, were big factors
the crises in the east European socialist countries and in the USSR.

What has been missing in the former republics, in areas and regions
Chechnya, is class consciousness and class unity. What is missing is an
ideology that would build a sense of unity, an ideology that would
nationalism and even religious fanaticism into a positive, progressive,
internationalist consciousnesS. What is missing is the ideology of

Russian conscripts ferrying ammunition to troops in Chechnya, rest at
side of a road in Ingushetia, just kilometers away from the Chechen
at Sleptsovskaya, January 25. The soldiers said they make the resupply
every two to three days.

Gus Hall is national chairman of the Communist Party USA.

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