Thursday, November 13, 2008

The roots of the Ingush-Ossetian terrorism feud

As a follow-up to a post I made last week about a recent bombing in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, I found an article from Radio Free Europe that touches on the roots of the recent Ingush-Ossetian conflict:

Since the election in the spring of 2002 of Zyazikov as Ingushetia's president, the republic has degenerated from a peaceful if impoverished backwater to the most unstable of the North Caucasus republics, with drive-by shootings and car-bombings occurring almost on a daily basis.

The catalyst for that escalating violence was a spate of abductions of young Ingush men, which many Ingush are convinced are the work of security organs in neighboring North Ossetia.

Since then, attacks by Ingush on Ossetians (as was the case with the November 6 bombing in Vladikavkaz) have been seen as retaliation for these original kidnappings.

So, I decided to dig a litter deeper into the kidnappings. And what I found is that two years before her death, Anna Politkovskaya interviewed an official who confirmed suspicions that the kidnappings were carried out by government forces:

At about the same time, Abubakar Kostoyev, who at the time was the Interior Minister of Ingushetia, confirmed in an interview with “Novaya Gazeta” correspondent Anna Politkovskaya that forced disappearances (abductions) are conducted by special services military men, who call these operations ‘special activities’. In most cases they come from Chechnya, and if they have a ‘special coupon’ (i.e. special pass), the Ingush militia has cannot [sic] examine their cars. As indicated by a Federal Interior Ministry order, the Ingush militia should not obstruct these ‘special activities’ in any way.

At all checkpoints the military men from these cars identify themselves as FSB officers, and if the militia tries to prevent such a vehicle from passing to the Ingush territory, the men refer to an agreement with the Head of the FSB Administration in Ingushetia, General Sergey Koryakov.

By "Federal Interior Ministry order," what they mean is the MVD (МВД), which is an elite counter-terrorism branch of the Russian secret services. There is no way that an operation involving them could have been hatched solely in the Caucasus: this is definitely a high-level decision emanating from Moscow.

Last week, I noted the similarities between the attack in Beslan and the Vladikavkaz suicide bombing. Now, I find another incident that seems to be of the same conflict. Both Beslan and the Ingush kidnappings have been tied to the Russian government by well-known assassinated muckrakers (Alexander Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya, respectively). I wonder how long it will take for someone to blame the Vladikavkaz attack on security forces...

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