Special services of several European countries conducted an operation to arrest a large groups of Islamites. The detained individuals were supposedly preparing a series of terrorist acts in the Old World. They also recruited gunmen for their service in different hotspots of the world, including the Caucasus. There is at least one Chechen national among the detainees.
The special operation began in a Muslim suburb of Belgium's second largest city, Antwerp. There are Belgian and Dutch nationals (of North African origin) among the detainees, as well as Moroccans and at least one Chechen. Similar operations were conducted in Amsterdam and Aachen (Germany). In total, German, Dutch and Belgian services arrested 26 people.
A source at the Office of Public Prosecutor of Holland said that a whole criminal network had been discovered as a result of the operation. The network, officials said, was recruiting would-be gunmen for so-called Imarat Kavkaz (Emirate Caucasus) headed by terrorist Dokka Umarov. The activities of the network were not limited to the Northern Caucasus only. They also intended to send gunmen to Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is not the first incidence, when European special services arrested those linked with terrorists in the Northern Caucasus. In July of this year, several Chechen nationals were arrested in France. They were suspected of plotting Moscow subway bombings on March 29. The suspects were detected with the help of a man identified as Ruslan Ozniyev, who previously lived in France, but then returned to Russia in 2007 to participate in the preparations of terrorist acts in 2007 and was arrested by Russia's FSB.
It is an open secret that terrorist groups in the Northern Caucasus often have foreign citizens, presumably from Arab countries. However, Islamites launched the war against Russian citizens prior to the start of the first Chechen campaign in 1994. It goes about the so-called "hunt for whites" in Algeria, masterminded in 1993 by local Saudi radicals. Tens of Russians were killed in the warfare.
What makes Islamites wage war against Russia even though Russia, as it seems, is a long-standing friend of the Arab world? If Western special services arrest recruiters in Europe, does it mean that the West is changing its attitude to Islamic radicals in the Caucasus?
Sergey Demidenko, an expert with the Institute for Strategic Estimates and Analysis, told Pravda.Ru that Islamic radicalism was a multi-sided phenomenon.
"This is a synthetic phenomenon based on a huge amount of reasons. Even though there are many Arab terrorists among foreign hirelings operating in the Northern Caucasus, the matter is not just about them only. It seems strange that so many radicals come from this seemingly trouble-free region. One has to take account of the fact that the huge funds, obtained by local oligarchs from oil sales, are not invested in the modernization of those countries. Quite on the contrary, they conserve medieval traditions there even more. One should also bear in mind the fact that corruption and poverty trigger serious social dissatisfaction. All these social and state problems are hypertrophied in Arab countries.
"It would not be correct to say that the Islamites in the administrations of those countries support radicals in the Northern Caucasus. They mostly export their dissatisfied citizens to problematic parts of the world. Russia is not an object of special hatred for them - it is something like a lightning conductor, just like Bosnia, Algeria, Iraq and now Afghanistan.
"Islamism presumably awoke under the influence of external reasons, mainly because superpowers became more active in the Middle East and in Central Asia. It goes about the attempts taken by the USSR and the USA to enforce friendly regimes there. The West actively supported Mujahideens after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Bin Laden, as is well-known, is a child of the CIA.
"One can not assert, though, that it was the West that gave birth to Islamism. The USSR contributed a lot to it as well. We actively supported Palestinian terrorists, enforced socialist regimes in the region, and all of that led to resistance. As a result, the malcontent chose Islam as their ideological base.
"Nowadays, terrorists parasite on natives of Arab countries in Europe. They seem to be unable to fit the societies in which they were accepted, that is why they take arms and travel to hotspots. As for the West, the Western attitude to Islamism is changing. Many Western politicians used to believe that it could be possible to solve the problem sending radicals to Russia or Bosnia. Now they realize that if they support the gunmen in the Caucasus, they will sooner or later return to Europe to launch Jihad there," the expert said.