The school attack that shocked and sickened the world doesn’t apparently trouble the Chechen rebel government. “Rebel Leader Hands Basayev No. 2 Spot,” from the Moscow Times, with thanks to all who sent this in:
Warlord Shamil Basayev has become the second most powerful figure in the Chechen rebel government as part of a reshuffle that confirms its shift toward radical Islam.
Basayev, who has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks, including last September’s hostage-taking raid in Beslan, has been appointed first deputy prime minister in the rebel government, according to a document posted Thursday on the rebel web site Kavkaz Center.
Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev, the Muslim cleric who succeeded Aslan Maskhadov as Chechen separatist president after Maskhadov’s killing by pro-Moscow forces in March, named Basayev and other rebel leaders to posts in his government in a decree dated Aug. 23. Sadulayev also holds the post of prime minister in the rebel government.
The reshuffle “demonstrates the consolidation of the separatist Chechen government and, most probably, of its further radicalization,” said Alexei Malashenko, a Chechnya analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center.