Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Heinous Killing ,now at Moscow Airport; Result of West-Saudi-Pak Nexus Against Russia , India and Others

Another Heinous Killing ,now at Moscow Airport; Result of West-Saudi-Pak Nexus Against Russia , India and Others


Part II-Historical Linkages between Chechen/ Caucasian and others between  Ottoman empire , central Asia and Russia.


"What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" Zbigniew Brzezinski in a January 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, when questioned if he had any regrets in supporting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan during 1980s  . " Nonsense--" responded Brzezinski when asked "If Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today." Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser.

"Terrorism is a tactic, a technique, a weapon that fanatics, dictators and warriors have resorted to through history. If, as Clausewitz wrote, war is the continuation of politics by other means, terrorism is the continuation of war by other means." Patrick J. Buchanan

"The United States has supported radical Islamic activism over the past six decades, sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly," and is thus "partly to blame for the emergence of Islamic terrorism as a world-wide phenomenon." Robert Drefuss.

Note ; Terrorism by 'Stirred up Muslims' incubated , financed and still supported by the West and Saudis on Pakistan body politic and soil will remain a nasty and overwhelming reality for a long time .Apart from Muslim states ,it seriously affects states with Muslim populations . Finally after Europe it could also hit USA ( from Black Muslims).


This is an in depth essay , also covering the Muslim communities  like Chechens and others in Russia , central Asia and former territories of the Ottoman empire .It also touches on the  origins and power of Ottoman Sultanas ,harems ,Odalisques and other details.


Read it to avoid kneejerk  reactions and biased analyses of terror attacks.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on 25 January that the objective of suicide bomber attack at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport , in which at least 35 persons were killed and large number injured was to kill as many people as possible. "This is a terrorist act, this is grief, this is a tragedy," Medvedev said. "I hope law enforcement bodies are able to quickly determine the main explanation [for the terrorist act] and conduct an investigation," the president added. He postponed his visit to Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland where he was scheduled to make an opening address.


Nikolai Sintsov ,a spokesman for Russia's national anti-terrorism committee (NAC) blamed insufficient security measures at the Airport for the deadly terror attack . According to RIA Novosti that the security services knew about the terrorists plan to attack a Moscow airport, but were unable to locate and detain the three suspects they had been searching for. The transportation security chief has been dismissed.


The international community condemned the blast."I strongly condemn this outrageous act of terrorism against the Russian people," said U.S. President Barrack Obama in a statement. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was "deeply disturbed" by the attacks. British Premier David Cameroon offered the Russian authorities "complete support" and "made clear that the people of Britain stood with the people of Russia in the face of these events." Interpol's Secretary General Ronald K. Noble offered all help , "Our bureau in Moscow and all relevant Russian law enforcement officials can count on Interpol's full support to bring those responsible to justice."


In August 2004,two planes which took off from the airport, Moscow's busiest, were blown up by female Chechen suicide bombers, killing a total of 90 people.


There have been many terror attacks by Chechen and other disgruntled terror groups in Moscow and other places in Russia . This is the second major terrorist strike in Moscow within a year. A suicide attack of March 2010 (40 dead) targeted the Metro traffic.


Anger against Karzai-Moscow Re-alignment !


It is interesting that the attack took place three days after the departure of Afghan President Hamid Karzai from Moscow ,the first such bilateral visit by an Afghan Head of State or Government to Russia since the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in late 1980s. Moscow promised economic  and military assistance  amounting to half a billion US dollars to Afghanistan.  But most of the proposed projects would cover the non-Pashtun north.


It is no secret that Washington is opposed to Karzai's moves for reconciliation with the Taliban .His regional policy and other initiatives do not fit with US regional objectives and strategy. So Washington is caricaturing Karzai as a tin-pot dictator, calling him "anti-democratic "after he postponed the convening of a new parliament. It did not endear Karzai to Washington when in Moscow ,he openly said that the Russians made better friends for the Afghan people than the Americans.

History of Western domination and support to Islamic fundamentalism against nationalism and socialism

Since the rollback of the Ottoman forces from the gates of Vienna in 16 century ,Europeans and Russia divided the Ottoman empire , colonized people further into east and the rest of Asia till WWII when USA, the new super power became the undisputed leader of the West .

Let us now look at the history how Britain and then USA have promoted Islamic fundamentalism against popular, nationalist and socialist governments in Muslim countries and elsewhere to safeguard Western interests.

In his book "Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam," Robert Dreyfuss paints a vivid picture of how the United States spent the last century taking over the British imperial apparatus in the Middle East ;sponsoring and manipulating Islamic fundamentalism to control and exploit petroleum resources and politics. Dreyfuss's book based on major academic literature and actors on the scene is an excellent survey of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and its various 20th-Century offshoots.

The United States, Dreyfuss argues, has supported radical Islamic activism over the past six decades, "sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly," and is thus "partly to blame for the emergence of Islamic terrorism as a world-wide phenomenon." He writes about U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood against Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, whose goal was to end Western domination and control in the Middle East. Western interests used the Islamic Brotherhood to destabilize the Nasser government. The Brotherhood remains active and continues to conduct terrorist activities in Egypt and elsewhere.

US-Saudi Dynasty-Wahabi Nexus

After the founding of the first Saudi "state" in 1744 by the al-Saud leader Muhammad ibn Saud ,he  made a Faustian bargain with the religious reformer Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab, the founder of "Wahabism". The pact between the Wahab clan and the house of Saud was sealed with multiple marriages and remains durable. The Saudi minister of religion is always a member of the Al Sheikh family, descendants of Ibn Abdul Wahab. The Wahabis' sway over mosques is undoubted with their own religious police. Financed from surplus oil revenues, the Wahabis have extended their reach via networks of Madarsas and mosques throughout the Muslim world, specially in Pakistan. In central Asian republics like Uzbekistan, Pakistani visitors are referred to as Wababis.

Wahabism is extremely austere and rigid. It tolerates little dialogue and even less interpretation, frowns on idolatry, tombstones or the veneration of statues and artworks. Its followers prefer to identify themselves as muwahiddun, which means "the unifiers." Wahabis forbid smoking, shaving of beards, abusive language, rosaries and many rights for women. They regard all those who don't practice their form of Islam, including other Muslims, as heathens and enemies.

Two experts, Brisard and Dasquie explain that Saudi Arabia has always supported radical Islamic movements (including the Taliban, Al Qaeda and bin Laden) in order to extend its hegemony over West and South West Asia and Muslims. Riyadh wants Muslims to remain backward to maintain its stronghold on Muslim Ummah. It also supported the Taliban to counter the influence of Shia Iran in Afghanistan .

'Operation Cyclone' against  USSR and central Asia

Now let us see how after the Shia revolution in Iran in 1979 and the loss of Western gendarme in the Middle East ,Washington weakened and destroyed the Soviet Union and later other communists states in Eurasia.

To Le Nouvel Observateur 's query ( referred to at the top ) , "When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?", Brzezinski replied," Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?

"The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire." [ Now the shoe is on the other foot and Moscow is relishing Washington's discomfiture in Afghanistan, apart from Iraq and Lebanon]

Brzezinski admitted on July 3, 1979, that unknown to the public and the Congress ,President Carter secretly authorized $500 million to create an international terrorist movement that would spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia to destabilize the Soviet Union. This was called 'Operation Cyclone'

Establishment of Terrorist Nurseries in Afghanistan and Pakistan

From 1979 to the exit of Soviet troops in 1989, USA , UK other western countries, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Muslim states and even China (which sold AKM assault rifles and Type 69 RPGs, with US even supplying Stinger anti-aircraft missiles systems) exploited Jihadis as a weapon against the Russian forces in Afghanistan. Washington and Riyadh contributed most of the funds, reportedly totaling even up to $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan (US with $600 million in aid per year, with a matching amount coming from the Gulf states.) The CIA and its allies, Pakistan ISI, British MI6 and others recruited, supplied, and trained almost 40,000 hard core radical Mujahedeen from forty Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself. Zia's military government established some 2,500 religious school nurseries, which were funded by Saudi Arabia and backed by the U.S. Some 225,000 children who went to these schools were trained to fight as guerrillas in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Not a penny was spent in defense of the Afghan people or on economic development.

Among those who answered the call for Jihad was Saudi-born millionaire Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. Although in his violent campaign against US interests, bin Laden had attacked US embassies in East Africa, with his camps being attacked by US missiles in retaliation, it was not until the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September 2001, when the realization came painfully to USA of the possibilities of nuclear terror, with linkages between Al Qaeda,Taliban and others in nuclear armed Pakistan's powerful ISI. However, there is growing number of people who believe that Washington organized 11/9 as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and post its troops and military planes in Afghanistan and central Asia to control the region and its resources . This is indicated in the 'New American Century Project' divined and propagated by Neo-Cons , who dominated George Bush administration.

After the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989, West largely forgot about the monster they had created. But it was obvious that the festering nurseries of terrorists left south of Russian underbelly and just across in the restive Muslim Xinxiang province of China and India's Jammu and Kashmir, would sooner or later affect these countries. The Mujaheddin mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah's name against the purveyors of secular "corruption." In fact Lashkar-e-Toiba was created while the West and Muslim countries were waging their war against Russia in Afghanistan. There are many sleeper Jihadists in Kosovo and Albania , who were flown there in US planes to fight against Serbia in mid 1990s .(Europe beware )

The 1980s jihad also spawned a home-grown malignancy in Pakistan - one that now poses a powerful threat to Pakistan itself. Free from the Jihad against Soviet troops after the Russians withdrawal, in 1990s Pakistan's ISI gave the Jihadis a fresh assignment, to create terror in Jammu and Kashmir. Led by Afghan veterans, fighters were secretly trained, armed and funded by the ISI to fight Indian soldiers in Kashmir. The best were later sent to help the Taliban in Afghanistan against NATO and US troops supporting the Karzai government in Kabul, foisted on Afghanistan by Washington after 2002.

Money comes to the suspected terrorists from Chechen-origin residents in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Narcotics smuggling from Afghanistan is another source. Russian role in the anti-narcotics drive in Afghanistan, is also not welcomed  by these groups. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states remain the main financiers of terror groups.

After the Monster of Communism, now Al Qaida and Taleban

Washington created the monster and fear of Communism to rule and exploit the part of the world under its control ; in a nuclear MAD stand- off ie the Mutually Assured Destruction .


After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Fall of the Berlin Wall in early 1990s , Washington's  expansionist policies continued .Under the misrule of a drunk or drugged Yeltsin ,US led West promoted democracy and capitalism in Eurasia and transferred between $ 400 billion to a trillion of Russian wealth to the West .Not so Al Bright Madeline US secretary of state even claimed that Russia's energy resources belonged to the world ( of course ,to be exploited by US and western oil majors !) Western advisers also helped create seven Oligarchs in Russia , six of whom are Jews . Two have escaped Russia , one who wanted to take over Russia has been imprisoned in Siberia by Russia's energetic and nationalist ruler Vladimir Putin ( who has popular support of over 80% in Russia ) who replaced Yeltsin.

Russian Bear Growls at US Hypocrisy and Hegemony

"The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions – undermining America's global legitimacy – collateral civilian casualties, – abuses, – tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability." Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter.

Finally at the 43rd annual International Security Conference held in Munich on 10 February,2007  Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the importance of the role of United Nations, U.S. missile defense, NATO expansion, Iran's nuclear program and the Energy Charter. He accused Washington of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions, trying to divide modern Europe and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war.

Ever since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Cold War in 1989, more out of naiveté than misplaced goodwill which after USSR's collapse the US ruling elite claimed as the victory of the capitalist West over Socialist Russia, this was the first blunt criticism of US unleashed rampant forces trying to coerce the whole world to its will for total domination while using brazen lies and illegal, brutal and inhuman means. While calling a spade a spade, Russian leader Putin was only articulating what a majority of peoples in the world thought and think of US policies ( except US pensioners in key decision making positions in India and sold out info and intelligence challenged India's ignoranti hogging India's celebrity and trivia obsessed TV channels and print media .)

After the quagmire in Iraq and a continuing lose-lose situation in Afghanistan ,US after its incursion into the very heart of central Asia , threatening Russia and China ,Moscow and Beijing energized Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and not only halted US and Nato march but reversed it .US puppet in Ukraine was replaced by a Russian ally a year ago .Moscow bashed US-Israeli puppet Georgia two years ago sending a message to the region .Washington , which had obtained use of Uzbek airbase was expelled after it tried to put a puppet in Tashkent ,is just about hanging on a base in Kyrgyzstan.

Washington now spends more than $ 700 billion ,as much as the rest of the world put together ,to defend itself ( or its interests ) together with hundreds of bases around the world ( in Germany and Japan too- WWII was over in 1945)) and aircraft carriers .It runs a trade deficit of $ 400 or more and survives with China buying its securities as result or Bretton Woods agreement which designated US dollar as the reserve currency, even now , although it defaulted in 1973 when it went back on its promise to exchange $ 35 only for  an ounce of gold . With GDP of $13 trillion or so , its foreign debt amounts to 12 trillion .The rampant greed of its rich ruling classes led by financiers and banksters controlling the military-industry complex , energy interests etc along with unbearable defense expenditure ( which had triggered collapse of USSR in 1991 and other states in history like Romans/Byzantines and Persians ) and hubris laden illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq , where it landed itself into a quagmire and Afghan war , which have speeded up its fall .


South Block, New Delhi , still toes the US line in Afghanistan believing that a US military solution is possible . Most info-challenged Indians hope and favor a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan. Delhi is flattered by statements from US politicians of the emergence of a global strategic partnership between India and the US .That India's democracy, diversity and knowledge-based society make it special, a model of a tolerant pluralistic society in the region, and one that now actively seeks to work with the US and others to help solve problems on a global level ... that the strength of India's economy makes it the powerhouse of South and Central Asia's growth. One of the three "primary objectives" for the US in the "dynamic regional context" of South and Central Asia would be to "build a strategic partnership with India".


Such policies only divert terrorists anger and plans against India , which is degenerating into dysfunctional anarchy and remains a soft target . The author has maintained that Washington would like to use India as a bulwark against China like it used Iraq against Iran and has successfully diverted the anger of terrorists groups in Pakistan to next door hapless India .


Washington has no strategic partners but tolerates only poodles. West was never India friend and unlikely to be .It not only allowed 2611 to happen but FBI agent David Headley was an accomplice and active participant in the universally broadcast rape of India's commercial and cultural capital , Mumbai .India was not even allowed to complain .When Indian Home secretary Pillai complained of not informing New Delhi about Headley visit to India even after 2611, he was forced to eat his words .


The author has maintained even before the Wikileaks disclosure that Washington , knew about the preparations of 2611 , with hundreds of its agents crawling around Karachi from where almost 80% of war material for Afghanistan is sent  .The 2611 terrorists were trained around Karachi and sailed from there .With its agents and command of communication technology ,Washington allowed 2611 to happen as it angered the unprepared and gutless Indian population ,with both India and Pakistan running to Washington as in the fable of two squabbling cats and the monkey .Ask US allies like Turkey and even Saudi Arabia .How they have been abused and let down.


Unfortunately India has ignored Russia which is unlikely to be strategically inimical to India ( as proved by the recent visit of Russian President Medvedev much to the surprise of India's ignoranti) and continues to anger and annoy Iran , which has stood the Western bullying and challenge very successfully on enrichment of Uranium for power generation . Most of the non-aligned nations are with Tehran , with Turkey and Brazil defying Washington .


New National Security Adviser

 Fortunately ,India has appointed an unobtrusive ,pragmatic ,experienced and well versed national security adviser (NSA) in Shankar Menon, noticed for his use of mis-drafting phrase on Baluchistan in Sharm el Sheikh ,who is quietly changing the rhetoric against China of the US spoons in India .It should be noted that Beijing has now agreed to grant stapled visas to inhabitants of Arunachal Pradesh , a step forward to no visas at all. But those looking to Washington for small favours and former Indian diplomats in Washington looking for a pat by the 13th second secretary in US embassy in New Delhi will be disappointed. It is a paradigm change from the last NSA , a policeman from the Mount Abou academy of the likes of Rathores, Sharmas and Vermas. .


It is a tragedy that  Pakistan which has accepted financial and other help from outside and allowed its policies to be influenced by US ,China , Saudi Arabia and others is suffering regular onslaughts of terror attacks from within .Islamabad has verily cut its nose to spite neighbor India .

Part II-Historical Linkages between Chechen/ Caucasian and others in  Ottoman empire , central Asia and Russia.


Turkey and the Central Asian ethnic octopus


The literature on Al Qaida , Taleban and other terror groups is well known and is also covered above but little is known of the linkages of Chechens and other ethnic groups from Caucasus and other former Ottoman vilayats ( states ) and territories from which over 25 states have since emerged and still counting ,which once stretched from Hungary to Yemen ,from Morocco to Iran border and Crimea to Sudan.


After Chechen suicide bombers attack in the center of Moscow on December 10,2003 following an earlier devastating attack on a train in Chechnya on December 5 ,which killed over 40 persons and hundreds injured ,I had written an in depth article on the subject which was copied by dozens of websites .To comprehend the overall ramifications caused by ' stirred up Muslims' from Lebanon to Kashmir , around it , Eurasia and elsewhere it is useful to peruse the piece ,reproduced  below;   

Russia has many millions of Muslim citizens. Tragically, these bloody and bleeding attacks are not expected to be the last. Chechens and other tribes around the Black Sea and the Caspian and the mountainous Caucasian region which separates Russia and the Middle East and Anatolia migrated here and have established deep roots. Like sleeper cells put in place over the centuries, their presence could have ramifications beyond their borders and serious implications for the region.

In the Caucasian region - which includes southwest Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia - not only do the geological plates grind against each other, making the area earthquake prone, strategically the tectonic plates of kingdoms and empires have rubbed against each other throughout history. Powers and states have always interfered with each other, and they still do so. Earlier the actors were Turks and Mongols from Central Asia and then the Ottoman and Safavid empires. Later, the Russians replaced the Mongols and the Turks, and after World War I the British from the southeast. Now, the United States has taken over the mantle from the British in this Great Game.

The region remains very important and dangerous, with complex linkages and relationships between the people of Turkey and the people of the Caucasian region. These ties were established when the Ottoman empire was shrinking, and they are deep and abiding.

But after World War I, the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the creation of the Turkish republic in Anatolia by Kemal Ataturk saw outside contact with the Muslim peoples of not only Central Asia but the Caucasian region cease almost altogether. Ataturk jettisoned the Ottoman religious heritage and he forced Turks to look West and become Westernized, modern and secular citizens in an effort to reach the levels of contemporary European civilization. During my first tenure in Ankara (1969-73), there was little real interest or even material available on Central Asia. Pan-Turkic leaders like Alp Aslan Turkes were looked on with suspicion.

The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey's historical enemy, pleased the Turks to no end. It opened the floodgates of exchanges and relations between the Turks of Anatolia and the Turkic people of Central Asia and the Caucasus. There were delegations galore, with the two "lost people" hugging each other, with many Central Asian leaders bending down to touch the soil of Turkey with their foreheads on first arrival. The initiative to bring the Turkic countries together was taken up by president Turgut Ozal, but unfortunately he died in 1993.

Migration and intermingling among Turks and Caucasians
From the mid-19th century, tens of thousands of refugees flooded into the Ottoman empire in flight from oppression and massacres. The Ottoman countryside had been largely depopulated since the 17th century as the result of misrule and the ravages of war, famine and plague. So the Refugee Code (Muhadrin Kanunnamesi) of 1857 granted plots of state land to immigrant families and groups. They were given exemptions from taxes and conscription for six years if they settled in Rumeli (the European part ) and for 12 years if they opted for Anatolia. They were to cultivate the land and not to sell or leave it for 20 years and they had to become the subjects of the sultan, accepting his laws and justice.

They had freedom of religion, whatever their faith, and were allowed to build churches if none were available. News of the decree spread widely through Europe and met with a ready response from various groups unable to find land or political peace at home. Almost to the end, the Ottoman rulers were tolerant of other religions. It is the West which exploited ethnic and religion-based nationalism to break the Ottoman empire and divide Hindustan, Palestine, Cyprus and other regions. But the same right is denied to the north Irish, Basques, Corsicans, Sardinians and others.

A Refugee Commission (Muhacirin Komisyort) established in 1860 in the trade ministry became an independent agency in July 1861. It was a belated response to the influx. Most of the refugees came from the Turkish, Tatar and Circassian lands being conquered by the Russians to the north and west of the Black Sea and the Caspian. Even though there was no official Russian policy of driving these Muslims from their homes, the new Christian governments imposed in the Crimea (1783), in the areas of Baku and Kuban (1796), in Nahcivan and the eastern Caucasus (1828), and finally in Anapa and Poti, northeast of the Black Sea, following the Treaty of Edirne (1829), made thousands of Muslims uncomfortable enough to migrate, without special permission or attraction, into Ottoman territory.

Even hundreds of Russian "Old Believers" had fled from the reforms of Peter and Catherine, settling in the Dobruca and along the Danube near the Black Sea. Between 1848 and 1850 they were joined by thousands of non-Muslim immigrants, farmers as well as political and intellectual leaders fleeing from the repression that accompanied and followed the revolutions of 1848, especially from Hungary, Bohemia, and Poland. While many of these were absorbed by Ottoman urban life, many were settled as farmers or managers of the farms being built by large landowners, contributing to both estate-building and the improvement of cultivation.

The flow became a torrent after the Crimean War following new persecutions elsewhere in Europe. The war itself led the Russians to change their relatively tolerant policy toward the Tatars and Circassians into one of active persecution and resettlement from their original homes to desolate areas in Siberia and even farther east. (This was repeated during World War 2) The result was mass migration into Ottoman territory, often with the encouragement of the Russians, who were glad to get rid of the old population to Russianize and Christianize the southern areas of their new empire.
From individual accounts it appears that the numbers were immense. Some 176,700 Tatars from the Nogay and Kuban settled in central and southern Anatolia between 1854 and 1860. (I always stopped by Esksehir for lunch, where Tatars sell fried thin-rolled bread like puris in India, except it is more delicious). Approximately a million came in the next decade, of whom a third were settled in Rumeli, the rest in Anatolia and Syria. From the Crimea alone, from 1854 to 1876, 1.4 million Tatars migrated into the Ottoman empire.

Even Slavic migration begun before the Crimean War intensified - Cossacks who fled from the Russian army settled as farmers in Macedonia, Thrace and western Anatolia. Bulgarians settled in the Crimea to replace the Tatars returned to their homes in the Ottoman empire from an alien environment. The mass migration of Muslims continued, though at a somewhat less intense pace, during the early years of Abdulhamit II, mostly in consequence of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1888 and the autonomy given to Bulgaria and Romania, Austrian control of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the cession of northern Dobruca to Romania and northern Macedonia to Serbia. Official statistics estimated that over a million refugees entered the empire between 1876 and 1895. The number of male Muslims doubled during the years from 1831 to 1882, with the proportion of Muslims to non-Muslims increasing substantially.

The immigrants were settled widely throughout the empire, many in villages that had been abandoned and some in eastern Anatolia, particularly in Cilicia (Adana region) and Arab lands like Syria, sometimes leading to conflict and problems. The lands could not have been intensively cultivated and the rural middle class built up had it not been for the tremendous influx of refugees who provided the necessary labor and males for future wars.

Caucasian slave girls in Istanbul

But the ingress and intermingling of Caucasian people with the Turks is much deeper among its elite. "Young girls of extraordinary beauty, plucked from the slave market, were sent to the sultan's court, often as gifts from his governors. Among the singular, lasting privileges of the valide [mother] sultana was the right to present her son with a slave girl on the eve of Kurban Bayram [sacrificial day]. The girls were all non-Muslims, uprooted at a tender age. The sultans were partial to the fair, doe-eyed beauties from the Caucasus region. Circassians, Georgians and Abkhasians were proud mountain girls, believed to be the descendents of the Amazon women who had lived in Scythia near the Black Sea in ancient times and who had swept down through Greece as far as Athens, waging a war that nearly ended the city's glamorous history.

"Now they were being kidnapped or sold by impoverished parents. A customs declaration from around 1790 establishes their worth at about 20 percent to 40 percent of a horse. The promise of a life of luxury and ease overcame parental scruples against delivering their children into concubinage. Many Circassian and Georgian families encouraged their daughters to enter that life willingly. They were immediately converted to Islam and began an arduous training in palace etiquette and Islamic culture." (From Harem by Alev Lytle Croutier).

Lucie Duff Gordon also reported it in her 1864 travel diary. While the earlier mothers of sultans were Greek or Serbian princesses married to the rulers, after the capital shifted to Constantinople, everyone was a member of the harem under valide sultana's control, with those giving birth to children, especially boys, jumping up in the harem hierarchy.

Many of the mother sultanas were Circassians and Georgians, one even French, Aimee de Rivery. They exercised great influence over their sons, now the sultan. The harem politics also became a reason for the decline of the empire. The word odalisque literally "woman in the room", comes from oda (room). But harem life was embellished by feverish European imagination, whose rulers were no less sensual, but lacked wealth and culture at that time.

In friendly arguments with Turkish friends, mostly diplomats, I would tease them, "What do you mean you are a Turk. You don't even look like a Turk. They are chinky-eyed and have little hair on their face. Of course you speak good Turkish, as you have been practicing it for 500 years." This devastating repartee usually ended the argument. Most would smile and happily admit that his grand uncle or grandmother came from Circassia or Bosnia. During the days of the empire, the elite called itself the Ottomans. The word Turk was reserved for the village yokel and a term of contempt. It was Kemal Ataturk who bestowed dignity on the word Turk.[The percentage of Turks who originated from central Asia is between 12 to 15]

Turkey and Central Asia
President Ozal's successor, Sulieman Demirel, did not have his vision or drive with regards to Central Asia and the whole thing came to a standstill, although after initial resistance to Turkish aggression Turkic leaders felt more comfortable in an institutional relationship with Turkey. In any case, even if Turkey had wished for a bigger role in Central Asia, it did not have the wherewithal to play it. Many Central Asian leaders to whom power fell like manna from heaven in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union were confused and rudderless. They were cautious and wanted good relations with all. The US encouraged Turkey and was afraid that Russia would try to come back, which it tried in some ways, but the horse had already bolted the stable.

Fears that Iran would spread its version of fanatic Islam and support anti-US regimes also proved farfetched. After an eight-year exhausting war with Iraq in the 1980s, in which Iran lost a million young people, there was little energy or money left to spread its message of Shi'ite revolution. Except for the Azeris and some other pockets, most people in Central Asia are Sunni Muslims, closer to the more mystic Sufi way of life. They have a very high level of education and a lifestyle of drinking and good living. With deep-grained nomadic habits, they could not easily be led to Islamic fundamentalism. It was ill-conceived US, Saudi and Pakistani policies that brought Wahhabi Islam to Central Asia.

Except for the Caspian basin for its energy resources and in Kyrgyzstan, the American leadership soon lost interest. The Caspian basin has between 60 to 200 billion barrels of oil. The US courted Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev, touting him as a democrat and helped his country join the World Trade Organization in 1998. The reason was to have a friendly regime with freedom to base personnel and sensing equipment to monitor China, next door. Akayev has proved no different than leaders of other Central Asian republics in terms of his record on democracy though.

The early 1990s were a very opportune moment for Turkey, which under the dynamic leadership of Ozal had successfully undergone a decade of economic reforms and had opened its economy to the West, especially Europe. The country had many trained managers and experts who, because of ethnic, linguistic and religious similarity, became advisers and even ministers in the new Turkic governments in Central Asia. Both at state level and in the private sector, Turkey made large investments in Central Asia and Azerbaijan. The Turkish government provided loans amounting to US$750 million to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Turkish private investment runs into billions of dollars. Turks have established industries and run hotels and other businesses.

Turkey also arranged to train 10,000 students and teachers from the new republics. Turkish as spoken in the Republic has been purified by excluding many Arabic and Persian words. Many European words, especially from French (almost all in the game of bridge) have been added. The Azeri language is quite similar to Turkish, as well as the Turcoman language. The languages spoken by Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and in Kazakhstan are somewhat different. Originally, Soviet Russians prescribed Latin script for the Central Asian languages, but when Ataturk changed to the Latin script from Arabic, the Russians changed to Cyrillic. Many Turks have opened schools in Central Asia, too. Turkey has also started beaming Avrasia TV programs to Central Asia, but with uneven results.

But Turkey's efforts to create an area of influence in Central Asia were opposed by the newly independent leadership. A loose organization of Turkic states exists without having achieved much. The old Baghdad pact was joined by the new Central Asian republics and became the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). To soothe the Russians, a Black Sea organization was also created, but it remains equally ineffective. Tansu Chiller, who had still not shot to fame by becoming the first woman prime minister of Turkey, told me that Central Asian governments did not repay Turkish loans, while they paid back Western ones. I had also been told that the new leadership in Central Asia would like to establish authoritarian political regimes and try to follow the capitalist system of East Asia. It has certainly succeeded rather well in its first objective.

Problems in the Caucasus
Soon nationalist Russian politicians, ex-communist cadres, ambitious Russian generals, local mafia and international oil executives all entered the fray to play their part for personal or national gains on the Caucasian chessboard.

Even Turkey was put in an embarrassing situation when Azeri president Heydar Aliyev, who died last Friday at the age of 80, accused a Turkish group in 1995 of trying to overthrow him with the help of his opponents in the capital Baku. But generally Demirel, a believer in the status quo, was helpful to Aliyev. Himself sent packing twice by the armed forces when prime minister, Demirel suggested to Aliyev to go on television and take other steps to control rebellions in Baku. This was a technique King Carlos of Spain had used successfully to quell rebellion by his armed forces.

East and south Turkey and the Kurdish rebellion
From 1984 to 1999, Abdullah Ocalan led the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) rebellion for a Kurdish state in the southeast of Turkey, a campaign that cost over 35,000 lives, mostly Kurds, including the lives of more than 5,000 Turkish soldiers. To control and neutralize the rebellion, thousands of Kurdish villages were bombed, destroyed, abandoned or relocated; millions of Kurds were moved to shanty towns in the south and east or migrated westwards. The economy of the region was shattered. Half of the Kurdish population now lives in western Turkey, making Istanbul the second largest Kurdish city after Diyarbakir. With a third of the Turkish army tied up in the southeast, the cost of countering the insurgency amounted to between $6 billion to $8 billion a year. After the capture of Ocalan in 1999 and the passage of laws last year to ease the lives of Kurds, things have now quieted.

The war in the 1980s between Iraq and resurgent Shi'ite Iran helped the PKK to establish itself in the lawless Kurdish territory in northern Iraq. The PKK also helped itself with arms freely available in the region during the eight-year war. After the 1990-91 Gulf crisis and war, with lack of legitimate authority and absence of possible Turko-Iraqi joint offensives against the Kurds in the north of Iraq, the Kurdish rebellion blossomed most violently. Turkey crossed over quite deep into north Iraq from time to time for punitive attacks on PKK hideouts and formations, despite the usual international furor. It even bombed some border areas in Iran too, where the PKK might have taken shelter.

The attempt by the Turkish armed forces and the establishment to clear east and south Turkey of Kurdish rebels (and populations) , has made it easy for groups to move around from one country to another, notably from Turkey to Iran and Afghanistan and from Azerbaijan to Chechnya.

Once, while I was able to drive along the sea coast from Baku to the border with Daghestan, I was advised not to go towards Gynza, towards the border with Georgia. It was a dangerous area under Surat Hassonov, a mafia chief and smuggler and once prime minister of Azerbaijan under Aliyev. There are many such areas in the region, and mafia teams in the import and export business do not pay customs duties. Even ministers are involved. The bludgeoning truck-based trade between Turkey and the Central Asian republics via Azerbaijan and Iran, without proper police control, means control by the mafia and freedom of movement for those who are determined or prepared to pay up.

Political-police-mafia link in Turkey
In a notorious case, an automobile crashed at Susurluk in western Anatolia on November 3, 1996. In the accident, Haseyin Kocadag, director of the Istanbul police academy, Abdallah Catli, a "Grey Wolf" ultra-nationalist militant and gangster who was implicated in seven murders in 1978 and convicted on drugs charges in Switzerland, and Catli's mistress, Goncas, were all killed in the same car. The driver of the car was Sedat Bucak, a ruling True Path party deputy and Kurdish chieftain heading a large gang of "village guards" (that is, pro-government Kurdish militiamen paid for and trained by the armed forces), who was the only occupant to survive. The crash suggested credible links between the security forces, the "Grey Wolves", organized crime and pro-government Kurdish chiefs.

In the beginning of November 1998, 25 prosecutions were launched covering murder, gangsterism and narcotics smuggling, in which 75 suspects were charged and the parliamentary immunities of both Bucak and of Mehmet Agar, the minister of interior, was lifted. But after two years, only two relatively low-ranking police officers had been convicted. Most of the alleged ringleaders in these crimes remained at large, some abroad, with even diplomatic passports. Inquiries revealed nothing concrete, but it emerged that the police regularly used mafia hit men to kill PKK people.

Istanbul bombs
The human bombers who destroyed two synagogues in Istanbul last month have been traced to Bingol, a small dusty town near the Iranian border. It means 1,000 lakes, and includes lake Van. I spent four quiet days in 1969 looking around the region, including lake Van, as the guest of its vali (governor) Kemal Ozturk, a very charming and gracious host, with evenings beginning with high officials - including the military chief - at 6pm and ending two hours past midnight. I found the same kind of lavish hospitality, now declining in Turkey, at Babur University as well as at private homes in Uzbekistan's Ferghana Valley city of Andijan (the birth place of Babur, the founder of the Moghul Empire in India ) which I visited in 1998.

By the 1990s Bingol had become Kurdish rebel-infested and dangerous. When I revisited nearby cities like Diyarbakir, the main Kurdish stronghold, by 4pm before sundown everyone, including the police, would retire for the day, thus leaving most of the countryside in south and east Turkey for rebels and others to roam about and transfer personnel and arms.

Nearby is the city of Batman, which had become the center of the Turkish Hezbollah. Unfortunately, the Turkey establishment helped this organization by encouraging some of its units in the region in the mid-1990s to eliminate PKK guerillas or sympathizers in southeast Turkey. The Turkish Hezbollah is quite different from the Lebanese one, and was reportedly helped by the Iranians. Only when Hezbollah started creating cells in Istanbul and west Turkey was the experiment abandoned, but the cat was out of the bag.

Caucasians in Jordan ,Syria and elsewhere.

Despite very strong control by the security establishment in Jordan, mostly manned by loyal tribesmen, the country with nearly a 60 percent population of Palestinian origin remains a place of acute underground activity. Daily killings and counter-killings across the border in the occupied West Bank and Gaza make things worse. It is a stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood, which did very well in 1990 elections, with King Hussein even including some of them in the cabinet to face Western criticism of not joining in the coalition against Saddam Hussein.

The United Kingdom and the United States blatantly encouraged Islamic and obscurantist groups to counter nationalist and socialist regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere from the beginning of the 1950s to the end of the 1970s, when Iran's Shi'ite revolution unnerved everyone. But for the Western support to Islamic elements, it would have led to more equitable and democratic regimes in the region. So the current talk by Western leaders and the media of ushering democracy into the region is absolute humbug. And nobody is fooled, except sometimes Thomas Friedman of the New York Times.

Jordan has produced many well-known jihadis, like Ibn-al-Khatib. There are now two new factors. The reported linkages between Jordanians of Caucasus origin and Chechens. Most of them are Circassians, known as Cherkess. It could be a very dangerous development because the Cherkess are the Hashemite kingdom's palace guards and hold important key positions in the police establishment and elsewhere.

Although only about 15,000 in number, a seat in parliament is reserved for them. After World War I, when Emir Abdullah, son of King Hussein of Hejaz and great great-grandfather of King Abdullah, stopped at Amman to reclaim Syria, which had been promised by the British to the Arabs for revolting against the Ottomans, the Cherkess community, which had been established since the 19th century, was the first to express its loyalty to him. Although the Cherkess community has remained loyal, there are now murmurs of disaffection. The number of Circassians in Syria is much higher, but then Syria exercises very strict control over such groups. Thoughtless efforts by the US neo-conservatives to destabilize Syria would have devastating consequences.

The late King Hussein, before dying of cancer in 1999, to further strengthen the British and the American motivation to protect the kingdom and his dynasty, at the last minute removed his younger brother, Crown Prince Hassan, married to late Indian chief justice Shri M Hidayatullah's niece, and instead made his son Abdullah the Crown Prince. Abdullah was the eldest son of the late king and his second wife Toni, a British citizen who embraced Islam and remained Queen of Jordan until 1972 when she and the late king divorced.

The US embassy in Amman, Jordan's capital, which I visited just before leaving in 1992, is like a fortress, replete with underground chambers. During the 1990- 91 Gulf crises and war, King Hussein adroitly remained neutral, much to the anger of the Anglo-Saxons, but the masses remained peaceful and under control. King Abdullah is not as nimble or experienced, and many Jordanians feel that he is siding with the Americans and extending them help, so there remains a danger to the throne. Such warnings were conveyed by attacks on the embassy of Jordan in Baghdad.


K Gajendra Singh served as ambassador of India to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he was ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. Apart from postings in Dakar, Paris, Bucharest , the author spent his diplomatic career in North Africa , Middle east and Turkic countries ( ten years in Turkey in two tenures ).


He spent 1976 with National Defence college , New Delhi , established the Foreign Service Institute for training of diplomats ( 1987-89), was chairman / managing director of IDPL , India's largest Drugs and Pharmaceuticals company ( 1985  and 1986 ) and while posted at Amman( 1989-92) evacuated nearly 140,000 Indian nationals who had come from Kuwait. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.


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