Another jihad front opening up in Russia. Oliver Bullough writes in Dawn, with thanks to Two Stellas.
MOSCOW: Take Chechnya’s embattled police force, corrupt government, poor population and violent Islamists, then add dozens of feuding ethnic groups. Welcome to Dagestan, the new front in Russia’s spreading Caucasus war.
Unlike the Chechens, who have fought Moscow’s rule for a decade, the Dagestani peoples stayed largely peaceful after the Soviet collapse in 1991. They are not any more.
“There are attacks on police, terrorist acts, attacks on deputies and ministers,” said Saigidpasha Umakhanov, the ethnically Avar mayor of the town of Khasavyurt, who says the government is too corrupt to stop the carnage.
“The government has seized the whole republic, so as to divide up all the money for itself. Well, for the people that is a problem,” he said by telephone. “The government is fighting the people.”
On Thursday, a train was derailed by a bomb north of regional capital Makhachkala. The blast followed a gun battle in the town centre on Wednesday, and an explosion in the town last Friday that killed 10 Russian servicemen.
Police say they have lost at least 28 officers to attacks this year. Militants and federal forces have lost many more, and civilian losses are unknown.
“There is 60 per cent unemployment, there is uncertainty about the government, there is tension between the Avars and the Dargins, who are the two main peoples who want their representative (as local leader),” said Alexei Malashenko, an analyst from the Moscow Carnegie Centre think tank.
“The situation is just getting worse, in every way. This terrorism is a war against the police by the Islamist groups, who are getting bigger alongside their criminal allies.”…
I wonder what South America and Mexico are going to look like in 25 years…