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Terrorism in Moscow: A Warning to All

28 October 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Russian President Vladimir Putin made the right decision.  Succumbing to terrorist demands just invites more trouble and hostage taking.  Israel paid a serious price in 1968 when forced into accepting PLO terrorist demands when an El Al airliner was hijacked to Algeria and Jerusalem was forced to release jailed Palestinian terrorists.  By the early 1970’s airline hijacking was an epidemic, even if not all the actions were a result of Israeli impotence in the above mentioned case.

Some hostages usually get killed and injured even in the best of rescue operations.  In 1976 Israeli hostages were freed at Entebee after an Air France plane was hijacked.  Although over 100 passengers were saved, several were killed and injured in the cross-fire as were several of the attacking force.  Not giving into terrorist demands is meant to serve as a deterrent, meaning nothing will be accomplished (except for media hype) by terrorist groups through hostage taking.

The above apply several times over when speaking of terror activities in the heart of the targeted nation such as taking a thousand Russian hostages in a Moscow theatre by the Chechnians.  Had Putin given in, it would be ‘open season’ against all Russian targets anywhere in the world.

The terrorists were apparently not just Chechnians, but from several Arab countries and Afghanistan with ties to extreme radical, fundamentalist groups.  Reports from Russia say the kidnappers were in contact with at least two Arab embassies in Moscow by cellphone although it has not been stated which ones.

Two questions need to be asked.  Could the rescue operation which included using ‘sleeping gas’ been better organized and avoided the over one hundred hostage casualties?   But this is a technical issue.

And from Israel’s perspective – Do the Russians realize that their pro-Iraqi and pro-Arab/Moslem world policies have backfired?  They should be standing with the US, Britain (and Israel) to battle all terrorism, otherwise chaos will ensue.

Like many countries identified with the west, the Russians do not realize they are considered ‘infidels’ by Islamic fundamentalists, and no matter how much diplomatic support they give to the Arab/Moslem world, they will be targeted as the enemy.

The western world is warned.