Musings of a Canadian Slacker

Sunday, September 05, 2004
The terrorist hostage taking in North Ossetia provokes some interesting thought. The Command Post and other sites (of particular merit is Logic and Sanity, whose webmaster has done an amazing job of making available Russian sources in English) have some useful information on the attack and its aftermath. However, I see that many are focussing rather too closely on the Al-Queda aspect. That part is important, but I think there was an element that many Westerners are missing. I think this might have been a play to reignite traditional ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus. The North Ossetians have long been Moscow's stick with which they have beaten the Chechens and Ingush (who are usually Muslim, while the North Ossetians are Orthodox Christian). Beslan is an Ossetian town, not a Russian one. It might well be useful to keep that in mind. It also might be useful to note the things that I noted in some of the news reports: that many of the relatives of the hostages gathered around the school armed with AK-47s and other assorted hardware. And more than a few of them expressed the desire to use them.