Israel and Russia Cooperate in Fighting Terrorism Threats
In the aftermath of the bloody subway bombings in Moscow, Israel and Russia are cooperating in fighting terrorism threats. This marks a first for the Israeli/Russian collaboration. Previously, Israel shared its expertise only with the US. Israel is an acknowledged expert in fighting political and religious extremism since the country was founded in 1948.
Russia and the former Soviet Union have been deploying military units in their southern provinces for many years now. At one time the former Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan as well. The conflict in the southern regions has been ongoing for decades. Chechen separatists have brought terrorism to Moscow and infamously to Beslan, a town in S. Russia.
On Sept. 2, 2004, heavily armed militants took more than 1,200 hostages, including children, in a school gymnasium in Beslan, in southern Russia. The militants had rigged the building with bombs, which started exploding (accidentally, according to some witnesses). The militants starting shooting at fleeing hostages and Russian troops stormed in. At least 338 people were killed, more than half of them children.
When the Soviet Union was dissolved in the 1990s, independence movements saw the establishment of autonomous republics. Some of the newly autonomous republics have a predominantly Moslem population. Religious extremism has gained a toehold in some of these new republics and the fanatics seem ready to kill innocents to gain their ends.
“Terrorism is like a disease. If you don’t fight it immediately and put an end to its growth, eventually you’ll find yourself paralyzed by this disease,” Anegbi said.
Since the hammer of the Soviet Union has been lifted, autonomy, separatism and religious fervor have resurged in the Caucasus Region. Adding to the danger if a regime of religious extremism takes hold in the region is the presence of huge reserves of oil which could be used to finance further terrorism attacks on the world.
The new cooperation between Israel and Russia in combating terrorist threats gives new hope to maintaining peace and safety.