Courtesy of Tom, this great news on US outreach to see what Muslim troubles Saudi Arabia can stir up within the decaying Russian Federation. Really, this is great news, and one of the countermeasures I suggested earlier. It seems that the Bush Administration is ably playing a double game, on one hand saying crazy things in an attempt for the Russians to save their own face, while at the same time decoupling our efforts from Putin’s petrothugs.
U.S., Saudi Arabia: Holding the Chechen Card | Stratfor
But after watching Russiaâ€™s recent power surge in Georgdia, the Saudis now share a common interest with Washington in keeping the Russians at bay. And with the Saudis now making roughly $1 billion a day on oil revenues, Riyadh has ample cash to spare to revive its links with Islamist militants in the Russian Federation.
Saudi support is not only limited to Chechnya, however. The republic of Tatarstan also is a prime candidate for a covert strategy that aims to inflame Russiaâ€™s Muslim minorities. This Muslim belt is key because it separates the ethnically Russian portions of Russia from sparsely populated Siberia and runs through all of Russiaâ€™s transport networks (road, rail and pipeline). If Tatarstan, which has become more independent in developing its vast oil wealth, revved up a resistance movement against Moscow, Russia would have no choice but to focus its efforts on quashing the rebellion at home rather than spreading its influence abroad.
There is no chance of a renewed Cold War with Russia, simply because Russia is unable to sustain a Cold War. People who believe in a new Cold War with Russia are guilty of legacy thinking. We are not dealing with the politically bankrupt Empire built on the blood of peasants on workers: rather, we are dealing with a politically bankrupt state that reminds us of nothing so much as a nuclear version of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Some may object to helping Chechen, Dagestani, and Tartari “freedom fighters” because of the trouble it may cause in our war against terrorism in Afghanistan-Pakistan. However, we cannot let Pakistan’s civil war dictate our foreign policy. To do so would be to put the Pakistani ISI in charge of the State Department. The battle for the leadership of Pakistan between the army, the ISI, Islamists, socialists, and al Qaedais of no concern for us, except for making sure that al Qaeda loses.
Indeed, supporting Islamists parties in Chechnya, Dagestan, Tartarstan, and elsewhere in Russia may well help is in our battle to punish + destroy al Qaeda, by allowing us to more convincingly partner with “moderate” Islamists elsewhere in the world.