Blood and Belief

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September 10, 2004; Page W13

More than 350 people murdered, primarily children, along with teachers and parents: Even among terrorist incidents, this one stands out for its horror. Russians, staggered by what happened this week in the north Ossetian town of Beslan, are trying to understand the nature of the enemy they confront. So are the rest of us, since it may be our enemy too. Is it?

For President Vladimir Putin, the answer is clear-cut. Russia is fighting extremist Islam, and it must be destroyed. From what we know so far, such a characterization accurately describes the child-killers in Beslan, who acted in accordance with “religious” instructions, issued on a Chechen Islamist Web site, that distort the Koran to justify the taking and killing of non-Muslim hostages. But Mr. Putin wants to claim that the broader Chechen separatist movement is rooted in extremist Islam, as if the region were a wholly owned subsidiary of al Qaeda. The truth is more complicated.

Read the entire article on The Wall Street Journal website.


1 thought on “Blood and Belief”

  1. Why isn’t the Bush administration protecting Iraqi Christians from Kurdish ethnic cleansing?

    “Just after celebration of the Festival of the Cross (Aida d-Sliwa) on Friday, 10 September, the village of Baghdeda, located southeast of Mosul, on the Nineveh Plains, in the Ninawa Governorate, came under mortar attack. Thus far a complete tally of the dead and injured in this village of 30,000 Christians has not been transmitted abroad. We know that the Sheeto family lost 13-year-old Mark Louis Sheeto and that his brother and sister were critically injured.

    It is unusual for information from Christian villages to filter outside the area currently under military and political pressure from the Kurdish Democratic Party. Kurds are barring Western journalists from entering villages like Dayrabun (“Monastary of the Bishop”) which are not in any danger zone, but are being denied resettlement by their Christian inhabitants (reported by Thiry August, a Belgian who tried to visit the Faysh Khabour area this summer). The KDP is determined to expand its control as far to the west and south as possible into areas now inhabited by ChaldoAssyrians. Under the Transitional Administrative Law, so favorable to Kurds, the objects of Western sympathy and funds, any territory in the three provinces adjoining Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniya (Ninawa, Tamim [Kirkuk] and Diyala) that Kurds can show they controlled on March 19, 2003 (prior to the invasion), may become part of the Kurdish controlled region in northern Iraq (TAL, Article 53A).

    This provision allows Kurds to create “facts on the ground” in the Mosul and Kirkuk areas in particular, at the expense of unarmed ethnic and religious minorities – to wit – the Christians of Iraq, the Yezidis, the Shabat, and the Turkomens. The advantages of controlling Kirkuk are well known. But the Mosul area, now the scene of fierce attacks on Christians and Turkomens, are less well recognized. Read more:

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