October 25, 2012
Russia’s North Caucasus is becoming one of the most unstable regions in the world, and the Islamist insurgency there is threatening to make matters worse. The Kremlin is struggling with efforts to control the brewing terrorist plots.
The latest counterterrorism operation took place in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria and in some parts of Dagestan, Russian media reported Sunday. The National Anti-Terrorism Committee said that 49 militants were killed. The special forces arrested 30 members of extremist groups and seized 30 improvised explosive devices, about 100 kilograms of explosives, and 19,000 munitions items. Among the killed were terrorist leaders of Kabardino-Balkaria and some district leaders of Dagestan.
A Heritage report notes that neither Russia’s use of excessive force nor continuing economic assistance to the region haves helped the situation. Russian citizens are now afraid to visit the region, and Cohen points out that the crisis is broadening to the “historically peaceful and tolerant Muslim Tatarstan 1,000 miles to the north.”
Despite these security threats, Russia refuses assistance from the West:
Anti-Americanism is promoted from above, and as a result, Russian counterterrorism cooperation with the U.S. and its allies has fallen hostage to misguided anti-Western, anti-U.S., hard-line policies and propaganda.
A lot is at stake. The crisis risks destabilizing the entire region and could threaten oil and gas pipelines linking the Caspian Sea to Western Europe. And it could threaten the safety of large public events in Russia, including the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Do you think the Kremlin should accept the help of Western nations?