The US and Russia Inch toward Fighting Terror Together

DEBKAfile Intelligence

Vol. 10, Issue 439, April 2, 2010

US president Barak Obama's offer to Russian president Dmitry
Medvedev of condolences and cooperation in bringing to justice
the culprits behind the Moscow attacks was followed smartly by a
positive Russian response. The exchange occurred on Monday,
March 29, just hours after two female suicide bombers killed 39
Russian commuters at two crowded subway stations.

Addressing the G8 foreign ministers meeting in the Canadian town
of Gatineau, Quebec, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
cited new possibilities for cooperation between the United States
and Russia in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan,
including possibly the dispatch of Russian special forces to fight alongside American and
NATO units.

Global Islamic terror has many intersecting lines, as Lavrov pointed out: The Islamic
terrorists from the troubled [North Caucasus] region could have helped organize the
attacks," he said adding: "We know that many terrorist attacks – not only in Afghanistan, but
in other countries too – are plotted in that area… Sometimes, the trail leads to the

It was the first time Moscow had linked Islamic terror based in the North Caucasus to the war
in Afghanistan and to other lands and it was not the only intersecting line he had in mind to
warrant a crack in the wall of non-cooperation.

Al Qaeda's massive intervention in the North Caucasian insurgency, starting in Chechnya
more than a decade ago is a matter of historical record. Today, fresh al Qaeda forces from
their strongholds in Yemen and the Sahil region of the African Sahara are making a beeline
for southern Russia to reinforce the Islamic organizations led by the Caucasian Emirate.

But while Moscow is eager to throw in its lot with the global war on
terror, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources in Moscow report the
Russians want the West to change its attitude toward their war on
terror before committing their military and intelligence resources to
the US-led counter-terror effort.

The Russians insist they are fighting the Islamist extremists behind
the uprisings rippling through the North Caucasus regions of
Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Ingushetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh in the
South Caucasus. They bitterly resent Western sermonizing, which blames Moscow's heavyhanded
suppression of ethnic separatist movements resisting "military occupation" for the
rise of the Islamic terrorist drive for theocratic rule in the Caucasus.

If the Americans do not change this tune, the Russians will continue to fight their battles

The Kremlin appeared cheered, however, by the US offering of joint action against the
terrorists who bombed Moscow Metro just four days after Presidents Obama and Medvedev
concluded a deal to reduce by one-third the warheads mounted on their intercontinental
missiles or bombers to 1,550 on each side.

Moscow saw another positive sign in the decisions in New York and Washington D.C to
elevate the terror alert level in their public transport systems after the attacks on the
Moscow subway.

It was the first time major US cities had responded directly to terrorist strikes in Russia.