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1 May, 2010 11:50

“For US, anyone fighting Russia is basically not a bad man” – analyst

US congressman Alcee Hastings is urging the State Department to put Russia’s most-wanted terrorist on the international terror list.

Chechen warlord Doku Umarov claims he was behind the recent bombings in Moscow and Dagestan.

Congressman Alcee Hastings says Russia and the US should join their forces in fighting such fanatics.

He added that the terrorist groups operating in the North Caucasus are linked with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

Hastings also leads an international security commission, which is convinced Umarov’s gang has carried out about 900 terrorist attacks in Russia over the last three years.

Despite the fact that Doku Umarov was linked to the Beslan school slaughter back in 2006, he was never put on the international wanted terror list.

Political analyst from RIA Novosti news agency Dmitry Babich explained that the reason for the reluctance of some US officials to view Umarov as terrorist is because “there is an anti-Russia bias. Anyone fighting Russian ‘imperialism’, as they call it, is basically not a bad man.”

Alcee Hastings’ initiative is long overdue, believes Babich.

“If we look at what’s going on in the North Caucasus, these terrorist groups that operate there, they are not only anti-Russian, they are also anti-Western,” said the analyst, who once interviewed the notorious terrorist Shamil Basayev who was eliminated by Russian special forces.

“When I interviewed Basayev his logic was the following: the West did not manage to stop Russia in 1994-1995, so the West is an ally of Russia, Russia is a part of the Western civilization – we are going to strike at the West,” recalled Babich, questioning “How long it could continue? Sixteen years now. It is time to wake up.”

Analyst believes that both Al-Qaeda and terrorists from the North Caucasus share the same ideology and are being financed from one source.

According to Nikolay Petrov from the Carnegie Center in Moscow, if the US included Doku Umarov in its international terror list it would send a strong message to Russia.

“It will be more symbolic than practical, but it will be very important for Russian authorities to show that we are really fighting similar enemies with the United States and it is recognized by American authorities,” Petrov told RT.

According to Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy magazine, the reason why Umarov is not on the list is simply because he has nothing to do with the United States directly.

“The State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations is more political than it is substantive,” he told RT. “There are two requirements to get on the list: you have to be an active terrorist organization that is either conducting attacks or planning to conduct attacks, and you also have to threaten the interests of the United States, the United States’ nationals.”

“Although this group has declared that the United States is within their pledge for jihad, they have not actually committed any crimes outside of their current area of operation – Russia,” Rogin added. “’So the State Department probably does not want to pick a fight with a group that has not committed directly to attacking targets inside the United States.”