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hostage situation ends

hostage situation ends

While I was sleeping off those margaritas, the hostage situation in Russia ended. I have to say, it did not end as badly as I thought it would.

The news from my tv is still sketchy. It's being reported that shots were fired before the Russian forces went in, and that the rebels had killed two hostages.

The Times of India is reporting that the theater may have been gassed before the troops went in:

Some of the hostages who died Saturday during an assault on a Moscow theatre may have been poisoned by gas Russian special forces released into the building to disable Chechen separatist gunmen, Moscow Echo radio reported.

Several hostages may have choked on their own vomit, a likely effect of the gas, the radio station quoted doctors as saying.

Up to 30 hostages died during the operation, Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov said.

Two of the rescued hostages earlier said there had been a strong smell of gas inside the building shortly before the storming began.

CNN says 22 of the 50 rebels have been killed, including the leader, Movsar Barayev.

What I haven't been able to find out is how many hostages died in the battle that took place after the troops entered the building.

Even though innocent people died in the raid by the Russian troops, it still ended with less blood and less death than I imagined.

And then there are thoughts on what this all means to world affairs. The rebels are almost undoubtedly linked to the same forces that were behind September 11. There is a bigger picture here. It may take time to see it.

Meanwhile, I'm still having trouble digging up information on the number dead, wounded, etc. Most news outlets are using the wire services. I think I just read the same words ten times on different web pages.

More as I wake up.

*update* AP is reporting that 67 hostages died and no children were among the dead.

Comments

I'm not sure if the hostage-takers will have had any links to Al Queda - there are Al Queda links to the conflict but I think the Chechen war would probably be happening even if Bin Laden had stayed at home and got rich with the rest of his family.

You can see the Chechen war as being more in the mould of Eastern European / former Soviet states fighting for independence or for ethic purity - some times the Russians were OK with these states splitting off and sometimes they wern't.

That said, there are links between the groups - I'm just not sure that they are as tight as some people think.

Can you point me to some news articles that link the groups?

How do you think a similar situation would play in the U.S.?

Can you point me to some news articles that link the groups?

How do you think a similar situation would play in the U.S.?

I found you from comments on E's blog. Glad I did. You are an excellent writer!

"The rebels are almost undoubtedly linked to the same forces that were behind September 11. There is a bigger picture here."

Yes. Chechens are mostly Sufi Muslims, which is a peaceful, mystical sect of Islam, known, for instance, for the "whirling dervishes" who spin themselves into trances to connect with God.

I've read reports (don't have the link offhand- check Instapundit) that these Chechen terrorists, though, are Wahabbi Muslims. Wahabbism is the extremely strict, violent strain of Islam that has come out of Saudi Arabia, and which is cropping up all over the Middle East, thanks to Madrassas (schools) funded by Saudi Arabia's oil money being used to purposely spread this strain instead of other strains. Apparently, it's being exported to Chechnya, too.

In other words, while there may or may not be a direct link to a specific organized terrorist group like Al Qaeda, there is a definite link to the same type of politicized fundamentalist ideology.

67 hostages died. Shit.