Wednesday :: Jun 28, 2006

Ear Boxing


by pessimist

For those of you above a certain age, you remember when an adult - often your grandmother - would assault your aural collectors in a manner guaranteed to get your attention in the most direct manner. The key word here is 'direct' - as in 'immediate'.

I was thinking about my own experiences with this seriously non-PC approach to inducing awareness of the inappropriate behavior which inspired such an aggressive action when I saw this article:

Putin orders secret services to "destroy" killers of Russian diplomats in Iraq
Xinhua

June 28 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russian special services to take all measures to "locate and destroy" those responsible for the deaths of four Russian diplomats in Iraq, the Kremlin said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the deaths of the four diplomats, kidnapped on June 3 in Baghdad, on Monday, a day after the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization grouping several insurgent groups in Iraq including the al-Qaida terror network, said in an Internet statement that it had carried out the killings.

Director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev said he had received instructions from the president to track down the terrorists responsible for the killings. Russian special forces will make every effort to bring the murderers to justice, Patrushev told Moscow press.

"We should be working so that not a single terrorist responsible for the crime would escape responsibility," Patrushev said, adding that "we will go on working no matter how much time and effort will be needed."

Now this is the sort of strong-sounding talk we heard from George right after 9-11. There is a significant difference when it comes out of the mouth of Vladimir, however. When the Russians say it, not only do they really mean it, they mean to follow through.

I looked for a linked article [only found one] to back up my memory of the Russian response when some of their citizens were kidnapped in Lebanon during the troubles there twenty years ago.

Americans were being kidnapped by Islamic Amal militiamen beginning in January 1985 and being held for years. Several Britons were also taken and held in captivity long enough to require psychological adjustment upon release. (I don't remember released American captives getting similar re-assimilation training.)

"Other hostages included one of two citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) abducted in January 1987 by an organization calling itself "Strugglers for Freedom." The West Germans were seized shortly after the West German government arrested Muhammad Ali Hamadi, a Shia terrorist leader who allegedly masterminded the 1985 TWA hijacking. Six French citizens, two of whom were diplomats, also remained in captivity in late 1987, as did an Indian professor, an Irish professor, an Italian businessman, and a Republic of Korea (South Korea) diplomat." Data as of December 1987, with most of these listed hostages still held in captivity at that time.

Having set the stage, we can now contrast the Russian response to their Lebanon hostages:

In Beirut, Lebanon, in 1985, four Soviet Embassy officials were taken hostage while riding in officially marked cars. Several days later the Soviet Embassy was threatened with a bombing if Russian personnel did not leave the region.
Details of the Soviet response remain shrouded in secrecy, though the story is that Russian KGB agents staged a reprisal kidnapping, taking several family members of the suspected Lebanese abductors hostage.

What I remember reading at the time was that these KGB agents cut off the ear of one of the younger family members and delivered it to the suspected kidnapper. Within days - again, as I recall from over 20 years ago, the Russian hostages were released, as were the counter-kidnapped family members. Stratfor sums up the Russian action:

If the story is true, it suggests that,
in addition to a certain degree of operational audacity,
KGB agents had unusually good human intelligence available,
at least for that operation.

So when Pooty-Poot sends in his personal Mafiya enforcers, I would take it very seriously if I were the assassins in Iraq. I would lend an ear when Vlad speaks.

You will note that I didn't say 'Iraqi assassins'. Considering the following, I suspect that we are going to discover that the assassins were not Iraqi:

Russia: 'Occupiers' blamed

The diplomats were seized in Baghdad on 3 June. A group called the Mujahideen Shura Council, linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq, posted the video of the killings on the internet.

[T]he lower house of the Russian parliament approved a statement condemning the killings, and appearing to blame Iraq's 'occupying powers'. "The whole responsibility for the situation in Iraq, including guaranteeing the security of its citizens, and also foreign specialists, as before lies on the occupying powers," the statement said

Russia has strongly opposed the US-led military campaign from the beginning.

I suspect that these assassins, based on their own released statements, are not even South Asians:

On Sunday, Arab television channel Al Jazeera reported referring to an Internet statement made by al-Qaeda in Iraq that terrorists had executed the four abducted men in revenge for what they claimed was "the torture, killing and expulsion of our brothers and sisters by the infidel Russian government" in Chechnya.

It's my considered guess that the assassins will prove to be Chechen. I also wouldn't rule out that our own secret services aided and abetted this alleged Chechen assassination effort, using connections established back when the US supported Chechen independence, to 'convince' Russia that they should pack up their Stolichnaya and return to Moskva, or to translate it into Texan: "Git outa Iraq-town by sundown."

But I digress.

In any event, where better for Vladimir to send a warning message to these self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda assassins' ears than to go to the land of the most generous of Al Qaeda's economic supporters?

At a meeting with a Saudi prince, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would be grateful to its friends for any information about the killers.

What if this approach doesn't work, or only works partially? I'm going to temporarily change course just a bit now to present the alternative.

American forces are in Iraq due to King George's ill-considered policy of international military preemption. Hizz Hindni$$ having established that sorry excuse for a principle in word and deed with his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Russia has now declared that "What's good for the Eagle is also good for the Bear" - including building a 'coalition':

Sergei Mironov, the speaker of Russia's upper chamber of parliament, the Federation Council, said he hoped for assistance from foreign services to locate the killers.

But this next statement makes clear that international approval isn't high on Russia's priority list. They will act on their own if necessary:

"I would also like to recall the opinion that Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced several months ago on the possibility of delivering preventive strikes against [overseas] terrorist bases that threaten Russia's security," [Mironov] told a news conference in the French city of Strasbourg, where he is currently on a visit.

This is another ear tug that got my attention. Stratfor had their lobes leveraged as well:

Moscow has denied rumors that Russian special forces units entered Iraq to deal with the abduction, though it would not be the first time the Russians have dealt with kidnappings using covert operations.

If the big nations are declaring that national sovereignty means nothing when it comes to their own national security (never mind respecting the national security of the smaller nations!), does it not lead to asking the question Is the Nation State Obsolete?
From the desk of Fjordman, Brussels Journal
2006-06-05

Martin Van Creveld thinks that "Western civilization depends on an idea of citizenship that is not global at all, but rooted in territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty." However, this social contract makes sense in the West "only because of the long history that endowed Western communities with a territorial rather than a religious loyalty."
By contrast, Islam, which has been until recently remote from the Western world,
is founded on an ideal "which is entirely global in its significance."
Roger Scruton ... notes, for instance, that for the first time in centuries Islam appears to be "a single religious movement united around a single goal," and that "one major factor in producing this unwonted unity is Western civilization and the process of globalization that it has set in motion." According to him, this is a result of "Western prosperity, Western legal systems, Western forms of banking, and Western communications that human initiatives now reach so easily across frontiers to affect the lives and aspirations of people all over the globe."

These 'influences' should bear significant interest for Americans in particular:

Muslims such as Osama bin Laden "are products of the globalizing process, and Western civilization has so amplified their message that it travels with them around the world. [T]he techniques and infrastructure on which al Qaeda depends are the gifts of the new global institutions.
"* It is Wall Street and Zurich that produced the network of international finance that enables Osama bin Laden to conceal his wealth and to deploy it anywhere in the world.

* His wealth, too, would be inconceivable without the vast oil revenues brought to Saudi Arabia from the West, there to precipitate the building boom from which his father profited.

* And this very building boom, fueled by a population explosion that is itself the result of global trade, is a symbol of the West and its outreach.* It is Western enterprise with its multinational outreach that produced the technology that bin Laden has exploited so effectively against us.

* It is Western science that developed the weapons of mass destruction he would dearly like to obtain
."

George was warned not to invade Iraq without the support of the world community, for to do so could lead to the establishment of a terrible precedent - one which large nations would be sure to abuse, and which small nations (or nationless movements like Al Qaeda) would have no other strategy to use.

Those Commie pinko tree-huggers over at the Brookings Institute put it like this:

While the White House has discovered that pre-emption might not fit with U.S. values and interests in most circumstances, other countries might not be so squeamish. They could use the administration's pre-emption arguments as cover for settling their own national-security scores. Then the Bush White House could find its words used to justify ends it opposes.

As I present above, it now looks as if Russia is going to get into the preemption game. Can China or India be far behind? And what of - for instance - recent Sudanese incursions into Chad? Could not such small countries take actions similar to those of the big guys in fulfillment of the warning issued by Brookings while the big guys are busy chasing their own hoodoos?

All I can see coming from this is world full of regional conflicts, no one of which would be big enough to rate the sort of international organization to conduct it as occured on both sides during WWII. This would open the opportunity vault for the Carlyle Group and other weapons vendors, allowing them to operate with no international restraint whatsoever. Once Carlyle, et al, begin selling to all sides of any conflict, the never-ending war George touts so frequently will be off and running. As former Reagan Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts puts it:

Bush's insane doctrine of pre-emptive war promises a 21st century more bloody than the 20th.

This may well prove to be the job he was assigned when he was placed in the White House instead of the legitimate President - get the wars started, then go home.

Where's Granny when she's needed?

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