Anxious to demonstrate that Chechen Rebels Mainly Driven by Nationalism and that"Islamic influence on separatists has been limited," the NYT ends its article on Chechnya thus:
"Dia Rashwan of Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo said that whatever its earlier role, Al Qaeda's current influence is likely to be minimal. "There is doubt that Al Qaeda is even able to defend itself," he said,"let alone partake in Chechnya."
Let's hope he is right. Breaking up the French, German, Russian anti-American triumvirate may be an important unintended consequence of the Beslan horror. It was heartwarming to hear the Russian female tennis champions' call for a moment of silence on behalf of the American victims of 9/11 and the Russian victims of Beslan. This is a chance to bring the Russian and the American peoples closer on an emotional level. I am glad Bush paid tribute to Russian school siege victims.
But it is not enough. The US and Britain have no more business giving Chechen terrorist political asylum that Iran has giving similar asylum to Al Qaeda members. Nor should the antiterrorist coalition try to cover up and ignore the close Al Qaeda relationship with Chechen terrorists in the manner it tried to cover up its relationship with Bosnian Muslims or the ties of one of the Dafourian rebel groups to Bin Laden's ally Turabi. Ignoring the Al Qaeda operatives in Bosnia permitted their establishment of a base in the heart of Europe with American help and doing the same in Dafour not only does the same in Africa but it also undermines the legitimacy of the international effort to end the Dafour genocide in the Arab world. International support of nationalist movements must depend on their renouncing terrorism as a legitimate fighting method. No if (Iraq) or buts (PA, Kashmir) . Acquiring a victim status should not amount to a possession of a carte blanch to unfathomable barbarity.