Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Beslan

What if the Russian school attack had nothing to do with terrorism, at least as the term is currently understood, and everything to do with the geopolitics of oil? Putin appears to be trying to create a Russian-European oil alliance to compete with the Bush Administration's attempts to corral the whole world oil supply. Conspiracy theorists suggest that his attacks against Yukos were to stop the dalliance of Yukos management with American oil companies. The North Ossetia school attack made Putin look weak and vulnerable - not something he is used to - and his political stature in Russia could not stand any more such attacks. At the same time, he can't agree to any concessions with the Chechens or any of their neighboring troubled areas (presumably, his hard core base won't accept any further diminution of the traditional Russian empire). After the school attack, Putin is immediately interested in falling in with the American model of a 'war on terrorism', seeing it as a Manachaean fight of Good versus the Evil Islamic fundamentalists (Putin: "Why talk to child killers?"). Putin is even supposed to be bargaining with Israel for cooperation in fighting the terrorists. Israel and the United States may be running a sort of protection racket, with Israel agreeing to 'help' Russia prevent terrorism in return for a change in attitude of Russia towards Syria, the Palestinians, and Iraq, and the United States agreeing to do what it can to ensure the school attack isn't repeated in return for Russian agreement to the American dominance in the world oil supply. It's like the Mafia agreeing to protect your store windows in return for a weekly payment, with the understanding that if you don't pay, the Mafia itself will send somebody to break them (Greece's hiring of Israel to provide security at the Olympics seemed to be a similar case of paying off the greatest threat). Do the Russians think that the CIA and/or the Mossad are really the prime movers behind the school attack? Was Putin's attack on American tacit support for Chechen leaders - something which, by the way, shows just how incredibly bogus the whole American 'war on terror' is - his way of expressing who he really thinks was behind the school attack? Based on the complete absence of evidence of a plausible tie to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, it wouldn't be a bad guess to think that this attack was a threat to Putin to stay in line with respect to neocon plans for the Middle East and the control of oil.

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