Andre Glucksmann writes of the assassination of Aslan Maskhadov.
The Russian authorities have succeeded. Their only opponent now is Shamil Basayev, the radical warlord they themselves trained and often spared, be it in Budyonnovsk or Dagestan. Mr Putin, the Soviet agent who spends his holidays in the company of Messrs Schröder and Berlusconi, finds himself faced with a man like himself, a man who may not have his clout yet, but already his cruelty. The massacre may now continue, the attacks recommence.
Aslan Maskhadov had just declared a unilateral ceasefire and announced he represented Western values, not those of radical Islamism. This ceasefire had been respected by all boeviki (Chechen fighters) for the past month. Maskhadov had shown his strength. The time had therefore come to kill him to prevent the spirit of “permanent revolution” – which our friend, the Czar, abhors – from reaching the northern Caucasus.
Not a single Western leader dared call for the Kremlin to negotiate with the only legitimate leader of a martyred and heroic people. Remember Ahmed Shah Massoud of Afghanistan? First he resisted the Russians, then the Islamists. He was abandoned by the world’s democracies and assassinated – to Osama Bin Laden’s benefit. There too, not one of our representatives contradicted Vladimir Putin when he equated Chechen pro-independence military resistance with international terrorism. On the contrary, Chirac and Schröder proclaimed the master of the Kremlin the archangel of peace in view of his sympathy towards Saddam Hussein, a blank cheque the KGB man has now cashed in.
Stripped of their morals, our leaders have also shown remarkable political stupidity. Who will now be able to calm the thousands of torture victims who dream of nothing but revenge?