Crossfire War: Russian Analyst says Radical Islam is Driving Force in Region

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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Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.