Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – North Caucasus Theatre: Moscow/ Makhachkala – Tehran – Grozny; Russian International Affairs Analyst Sergei Markedonov States Radical Islam has Replaced Ethnic Nationalism as Driving Force in Region
Night Watch: MOSCOW – Sergei Markedonov, head of Inter-Ethnic Relations Department at Moscow’s Institute of Political and Military Analysis, has said that radical Islam has replaced ethnic nationalism as the driving force of those fighting Moscow in the North Caucasus. Markedonov added that Daghestan, which borders the Caspian Sea, has become the center of terrorist activity surpassing Chechnya. [Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty]
When Chechnya erupted in December 1994 it was indeed primarily a nationalistic movement that wanted independence from Russia. Chechnya was the last of a series of fronts that exploded in heavy fighting that year, the first year of World War III. But Islamic groups, directed by Tehran entered the conflict, well armed and well financed, just as they had entered the Balkans through Bosnia, also in Kashmir and Tajikistan.
Russian units were not being paid so Moscow loses the first Chechnya war 1994-96. But Chechnya is landlocked and not as resource rich as areas that border the Caspian, such as Daghestan. So fighting begins in Daghestan in 1999 and has continued there ever since. This area is the center of Tehran’s economic agenda – the control of Caspian Sea resources.
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