Chechen Separatism, Wahabism



Christopher Jones writes; The second instalmemt of Au dessous les cartes was just as interesting as the first; it presented  the Chechen dilemma from the perspective of economics.  It pointed out that, after Dudayev proclaimed independence, Yeltzin initiated the first Chechen war partly out of concern for the safety of two major Russian oil pipelines that crossed the territory.  Despite Dudayev's death, Yeltzin pushed for the wholesale destruction of Grozny, which remains a ruined city to this very day. It was the present rebel chieftain Mazkhadov who then defeated the Russians, took busloads of POWs and threw the Red Army out of the Chechen capital.  In the subsequent negotiations, Mazkhadov became president and General Aleksandr Lebed brokered a peace deal for the Russians.  During the period of peace from 1994 until the second Chechenian war, the Russians claimed that Chechens had abandoned their traditional Sufism and had embraced Wahabitism, promoted by the Saudis.  It was this that led Putin to begin the second Chechen war and not any concern for the oil pipeline from Azerbaijan, which was rebuilt to completely avoid Chechnya.

RH:The reference to Wahabism is extremely important. Do the Taliban consider themselves Wahabites? In essence they are. Wahabism was founded by Muhammed ibn Abd al Wahab (died 1792).  He won the support of a local chieftain Muhammed ibn Saud, and founded a Wahabite state in central Arabia. It is ironic that this was the century of the enlightenment in Europe, when Voltaire wrote his very controversial anti-Islamic play "Mahomet ou le fanatisme". In the first decade of the nineteenth century the Wahabites captured Mecca and Medina and shocked Muslims because they destroyed the tombs of Muslim saints to whose cult they objected. The Turks regained control., but lost it at the time of World War I, when a descendent of the founder, Abdala-Aziz ibn Saud, founded the state of Saudi Arabia and made Wahabism its official creed. The state is still Wahabite: Arab terrorists fight it simply because it has made concessions to the Infidels. It is still spreading Wahabism abroad.

Your comments are invited. Read te home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu/ E-mail to hilton@stanford.edu. Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004

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last updated: October 8, 2004