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On Efforts to Counter International Terrorism in the Russian Federation and Possible Areas of U.S.-Russian Cooperation in this Area

Valentin A. Sobolev

National Security Council of the Russian Federation


Allow me first of all to express my thanks for the invitation to speak at such a representative meeting of scientists of the United States and the Russian Federation.

I feel it is important to note that we have all been brought here by a desire to sum up the results of our joint activities, plan new measures taking into account the real situation in the struggle against international terrorism, and expand our cooperation by improving its effectiveness. The atmosphere prevailing here is fully conducive to a confidential discussion and an informal yet businesslike and constructive exchange.

In analyzing trends in the evolution of terrorism, attention should be focused on the following basic parameters by which its danger to society has increased:

  • Growth rates—More than 10,000 terrorist acts have been committed worldwide during the past three decades.

  • Level of organization—During the past century, terrorism has developed from the level of lone terrorists and small terrorist groups to transnational terrorist associations like al Qaeda.

  • Material-technical and financial support—Terrorists’ resources have evolved from the dagger and the pistol to colossal explosions and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction; from modest financial resources to funds in the millions, obtained through the laundering of criminal proceeds and through sponsorship support from religious and nationalist organizations.

  • National and transnational scales of terrorist activities—Terrorism is moving from crimes in a single location to the seizure of entire cities, countries, or regions.



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On Efforts to Counter International Terrorism in the Russian Federation and Possible Areas of U.S.-Russian Cooperation in this Area Valentin A. Sobolev National Security Council of the Russian Federation Allow me first of all to express my thanks for the invitation to speak at such a representative meeting of scientists of the United States and the Russian Federation. I feel it is important to note that we have all been brought here by a desire to sum up the results of our joint activities, plan new measures taking into account the real situation in the struggle against international terrorism, and expand our cooperation by improving its effectiveness. The atmosphere prevailing here is fully conducive to a confidential discussion and an informal yet businesslike and constructive exchange. In analyzing trends in the evolution of terrorism, attention should be focused on the following basic parameters by which its danger to society has increased: • Growth rates—More than 10,000 terrorist acts have been committed worldwide during the past three decades. • Level of organization—During the past century, terrorism has developed from the level of lone terrorists and small terrorist groups to transnational terror- ist associations like al Qaeda. • Material-technical and financial support—Terrorists’ resources have evolved from the dagger and the pistol to colossal explosions and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction; from modest financial resources to funds in the millions, obtained through the laundering of criminal proceeds and through sponsorship support from religious and nationalist organizations. • National and transnational scales of terrorist activities—Terrorism is moving from crimes in a single location to the seizure of entire cities, countries, or regions. 2

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28 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM • Degree of severity of consequences and number of human victims—The rates of increase in the numbers of casualties are averaging an order of magni- tude higher than the rates for the number of terrorist acts. • Nature and scope of goals—Terrorist acts range from the murder of indi- viduals to the overthrow of legitimate governments, the destruction of states, and the practical elimination of entire peoples. • Expansion of the social base for terrorism—Not only individual organi- zations and political, nationalist, and religious organizations but also entire popu- lations who are often deluded and significant segments of populations are lining up under the banner of terrorism. Terrorism in our times is also characterized by the presence of ready forces equipped at the highest technical level. Terrorists are attempting to use the latest scientific and technical achievements for their criminal purposes. There is no doubt that terrorism is today one of the primary threats to the security of the entire world community. In recent history, Russia has been among the first to really feel this threat. Suffice it to recall that in 1995, at the G-8 meeting in Ottawa, the Russian delegation warned that the world community needed to pay attention to the increased level of activity on the part of international terrorism, particularly in the North Caucasus region. Unfortunately, however, our calls to join forces in the struggle against terrorism were not heard in time. For us, Chechen terrorism continues to be one of the primary instruments of international terrorism operating in Russian territory and even represents a sort of testing ground for the use of cutting-edge technologies in terrorist acts. One example is the terrible tragedy in the city of Beslan, North Ossetia, which I would classify as comparable in its scope, severity, and consequences with the events of September 11, 2001, in New York City. The actions of the terrorists were directed against children with the aim of destabilizing the situa- tion in the North Caucasus region. There is sufficient evidence that bandit groups operating in Chechnya and other Russian regions have ties to international terrorism. It is sufficient to recall that mercenaries from more than 50 states were found to be participants in the zone of the counterterrorist operations in Chechnya. Prominent roles were played by members of al Qaeda, including Abu al-Walid, Abu Kuteida, and Marwan Idr. According to our information, even today there are 150 to 200 foreign mer- cenaries in the bandit groups in the Chechen Republic. Absolutely analogous to the training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, training bases for fighters, including individuals from many foreign countries, were operating in the Chechen Republic from 1994 through 1999. Meanwhile the spiritual leader of the Chechen bandits, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, was a fre- quent guest of the Afghan Taliban leadership, receiving ideological and material support.

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2 COUNTERING URBAN TERRORISM The Khasavyurt peace accords of 1996, under which the Chechen leadership at that time committed to disarming the bandit groups and establishing order in its territory, were in fact used to prepare an armed expansion. The result was an act of open aggression by international terrorism against Russia. In August 1999, well-armed bands of mercenaries trained in the camps invaded the territory of the Republic of Dagestan. Their purpose was to detach a portion of Russian territory from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea to create a World Arab Caliph- ate, an idea born in the depths of al Qaeda. It must be recognized that in the three-and-one-half years since the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., the world community has done a great deal to establish effective partnership in countering international terror- ism. An international antiterrorist coalition has been formed. The role of the United Nations and its Security Council has increased, and in our opinion these organizations can and must become the primary bodies uniting the efforts of all countries of the world in the fight against terrorism. As for Russia, as President Vladimir Putin has declared, we consider the task of strengthening the antiterrorist coalition to be among the most important tasks it faces. Our position is well known: The time has come to reject double standards with regard to terror, regardless of the slogans behind which it might take cover. Those who killed the children in Beslan and seized the planes for the attacks on the United States are entities of the same breed. The provision of asylum to terrorists, their accomplices, and their sponsors in violation of agree- ments that have been made undermines the unity and mutual trust of participants in the antiterrorist front, serves as justification for the terrorists’ actions, and in fact encourages them to commit the very same crimes in other countries. At- tempts to use the struggle against terrorism for various types of geopolitical games are even more counterproductive and dangerous. Any concession to ter- rorists is a signal that they can achieve their goals and an incentive for them to commit new crimes.1 The inhumanity of the recent terrorist acts speaks of the need to ensure reliable guarantees that terrorists will not be able to gain access to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Russia is prepared for the closest international part- nership on this question. Our country is one of the initiators of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, a participant in the Proliferation Security Initiative, and a coauthor of the G-8 action plan on nonproliferation. In our view, strict and unwavering fulfillment by all countries of their obligations under the relevant 1For example, on March 11, 2004, approximately 200 people were killed in a series of bombings in Madrid. More than 1,800 people were injured to varying degrees, and as another result of the bombings, a new government also came to power two weeks later. The terrorists instantly connected these two events. Later, after a hostage was seized, Spain removed its military forces from Iraq. The terrorists again announced their achievement, and the number of seizures of hostages from other countries increased many times over.

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20 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM conventions banning these types of weapons must be a reliable barrier against the spread of chemical and biological weapons. One of the myths widely discussed in the West with regard to Russia states that, first, nuclear weapons and their components are poorly protected in our country and that the Russian mafia has virtually free access to them. Second, conservatively inclined military officers, representatives of the special services, and the military industry are supposedly secretly supplying other countries with WMD components or technologies that are prohibited for export. Since the mo- ment that the Russian Federation appeared as a state, no instance of the disap- pearance of even one gram of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium has been recorded. This mythology of Russia as a malevolent proliferator is not only supported in film thrillers and pseudoanalytical articles appearing in a number of Western media outlets but also is being used by speculators to turn a profit. For example, cases have been recorded in Afghanistan in which containers with technical markings in Russian and supposedly containing weapons-grade ura- nium have been offered on the black market. The growing drug trade is closely linked with terrorism. The cancer of inter- national terrorism is spreading relentlessly around the globe. In some places it is just beginning to find a base, while in others it has already managed to put down deep roots. This primarily pertains to the so-called instability belt, which extends from the Philippines and Indonesia through the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East to the Serbian territory of Kosovo. If we look carefully at a geographic map, we may discover a surprising coincidence between this terrorism belt and the drug-trafficking route most con- venient for the shipment of drugs into Europe: from the region of the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Pakistan) through Central Asia and the Transcaucasus and further along the so-called Balkan, or northern, route. The flow of drugs from Afghanistan has taken on a global character. We note with alarm that the efforts of the international community and the Afghan authorities to counter the production and contraband sale of drugs have not yet produced the necessary effect.2 The problem is sufficiently acute, and much depends on its resolution, including the success of the struggle against terrorism; fulfillment of the pro- gram for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the fighters involved in irregular formations; and ultimately the creation of a stable centralized gov- ernment in Afghanistan. One would like to see the International Security Assis- tance Force play a more active role in the war against drug production and trafficking. 2According to estimates from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan produced 87 percent of the world’s opium supply in 2004 (in 2003, 76 percent). A total of 4,200 metric tons of opium was produced (in 2003, 3,600 metric tons). The area under poppy cultivation reached 131,000 hectares (in 2003, 80,000 hectares). Overall, the opium economy employs about 2.3 million people. The volume of income earned by producers and drug traffickers is estimated at 2.8 billion dollars.

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21 COUNTERING URBAN TERRORISM Efforts to build cooperation among special services and law enforcement agencies require special attention, and we believe that this issue must be raised to a qualitatively new level of trust and coordination of actions. The December 2004 visit to Russia by U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller is graphic evidence of this. Russian Federal Security Service Director Nikolai Patrushev and the FBI director signed a memorandum on coop- eration between the special services of the two countries in the fight against international terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, along with a number of other agreements. I would now like to say a few words about the state system for countering terrorism in Russia. The outlines for the formation of this system are set forth in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and by the federal laws On Security, On the Struggle Against Terrorism, On States of Emergency, On Countering the Legalization of Profits Obtained by Criminal Means and Used to Finance Terror- ism (Money Laundering), and a number of others. The president of the Russian Federation heads the state system for counter- ing terrorism and determines the fundamental elements of state policy in this regard, either directly or through the Security Council of the Russian Federation. The government of the Russian Federation coordinates counterterrorism efforts undertaken by federal executive-branch agencies and organizes support for them with the necessary forces and resources. The Federal Antiterrorist Commission, which is chaired by the prime minister, handles overall coordination of the ac- tivities of federal executive-branch agencies in countering terrorism. Regional antiterrorist commissions also operate in the various entities that make up the Russian Federation. The lead agency, with functions including the detection, prevention, and suppression of terrorist activities, is the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. The list of agencies whose forces and resources are involved in antiterrorist activities also includes the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Defense, and the Federal Finan- cial Monitoring Service. The situation in the North Caucasus has an objective impact on the need to improve the state system for countering terrorism. In late 1994 the country’s leadership set itself to the task of eliminating the incipient conflict in Chechnya and reestablishing constitutional order in the republic. This was not achieved. Furthermore, active efforts were initiated to detach Chechnya from Russia. Un- fortunately, political will was not displayed in that period and a realistic assess- ment was not made of the events that were occurring. The striving of the extrem- ist leaders to label the conflict as international and to involve international forces in its elimination was not taken into account. From 1996 to 1999 these circum- stances allowed the Ichkerian leaders to create large, illegal, armed terrorist formations in the republic and to begin an invasion of the territory of the neigh- boring Republic of Dagestan with the aim of taking it over. In response a counter- terrorist operation in the North Caucasus was announced by a decree of the

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22 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM president of the Russian Federation in accordance with existing legislation. The goal of the operation was to liquidate the illegal armed bandit formations, restore the legal rights and freedoms of the region’s population, eliminate separatism, and prevent the spread of terrorism to other regions of Russia. Three basic stages of the counterterrorist operation may be highlighted. The first stage was military (1999–2001), and began with the start of the terrorists’ aggression against Chechnya’s neighboring republic, Dagestan. The military stage was characterized by the actions of primarily the armed forces and the widespread use of arms to oppose large and well-organized armed bandit forma- tions. Leadership of the military stage of counterterrorist operations was under- taken by the Ministry of Defense. Subsequently, following the destruction of major armed bandit formations, the special operations stage began (2001–2003). It was conducted under the overall leadership of the Federal Security Service. The goals of this stage were as follows: destruction of the organizational structure of the terrorist bandit orga- nizations, neutralization of the bandit formations and their leaders, and closure of their funding channels. At the same time, efforts began to lay the foundations for creating organs of legitimate government in Chechnya and reestablishing the constitutional order. The positive results achieved in stabilizing the situation in Chechnya and disrupting the centralized command structure of the bandit formations made it possible to move in 2003 to the third stage, which involved counterterrorist operations. The focus of actions was shifted to the law enforcement sphere. Leadership of the operations was assigned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This stage is currently being implemented by federal and republic-level forces and involves support for public security and order in the republic. These actions are being carried out in parallel with political processes under way in the repub- lic and with restoration of the ruined economy. Increased powers are being trans- ferred to the republic authorities. Having embarked on the path of peaceful de- velopment for their republic as a part of Russia, the Chechens themselves have begun working more actively to bring order to their homeland.3 3A legitimate government has been created in Chechnya. A president of the republic has been elected; the republic government and local governments are functioning. A referendum has been held in which the residents of the republic decided that it would belong to Russia as a subject. A constitu- tion has been adopted; preparations are under way for parliamentary elections. The social sphere and the economy are being restored. In 2004, population growth in the republic was among the highest in the region (about 102 per- cent). Average wage increases totaled 152 percent (one of the highest in the region). Pensions are being paid, along with subsidies for children and the unemployed and monetary compensation for lost housing and property. In 2004, 39,000 families received monetary compensa- tion for destroyed housing and lost property in the amount of about 14 billion rubles (from the federal budget).

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2 COUNTERING URBAN TERRORISM The current situation in Chechnya shows a strong tendency toward stabiliza- tion. However, international terrorism has not cooled. It is forced to constantly find new ways to manifest itself that are even more dangerous for people. As has already been noted, it is international, and it seeks and finds support in interna- tional organized crime. It strives to obtain WMD and their components. It is terrible and merciless. The experience of the struggle against terrorism in Russia shows that the system that opposes terrorism must be constantly improved. Oth- erwise, we are doomed to defeat. It is for this reason that the president of Russia has issued orders to improve the system for countering terrorism. To these ends the Russian Security Council is revising a draft Concept (Strategy) for National Security. The regulatory and legal base is also being improved. Plans call for radically changing the proce- dures for cooperation among all agencies involved in the struggle against terror- ism, expanding their powers, and instituting accountability for failure to take measures to prevent terrorist acts. Also planned are increased criminal penalties for aiding terrorists and financing their activities and heightened controls over the production, sale, and use of explosives and weapons. Measures are being improved to ensure that the population receives timely notification regarding threats of terrorist acts and on the elimination of their possible consequences. A great deal of attention is being focused on international cooperation. A preliminary analysis is under way about the expediency of bringing the national laws of Russia and foreign countries on the struggle against terrorism into com- pliance with a unified standard and about the question of creating a single inter- national database on terrorist, separatist, and extremist organizations and their leaders and members. In our work we are also taking into account the practical A total of 71 medical care facilities are operating, including the republic hospital and eight clinics. There are 65 kindergartens, of which 46 are located in rural areas. Two more kindergartens are being prepared to open. Three higher educational institutions (with more than 20,000 students) and seven specialized sec- ondary institutions (more than 6,000 students) are operating, along with 456 schools (with more than 14,000 teachers and 200,000 pupils), four boarding schools, and 95 continuing education facilities. Active efforts are under way to restore the agricultural sector. Increases have been achieved in the number of livestock (by 120–160 percent), poultry production (140 percent), milk output (more than 200 percent), and the amount of grain milled (150 percent). The production of bread and bakery goods has increased by 120 percent. Housing and construction industry facilities are under construction. The petroleum sector is developing. More than 2 million metric tons of oil is extracted annually, and sales of petroleum products have increased. Television and radio broadcasting reach the entire territory of the republic. The telephone system has been restored. Thirty newspapers and six magazines have been registered and are being published. Railway links to Moscow have been reestablished.

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2 RUSSIAN VIEWS ON COUNTERING TERRORISM steps taken by the U.S. leadership following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, to address problems of improving the effectiveness of protection of the nation’s territory against the terrorist threat and preparing for actions in emer- gency situations. In our view the range of measures that has been developed to improve interactions among all state agencies by creating new structures responsible for the country’s security and reorganizing existing ones merits particular attention. We see the systemic approach of the United States in such areas as • obtaining warning information about the likely location, nature, and meth- odology of potential terrorist acts • stepping up border protection and ensuring the security of the transporta- tion system • protecting the most important elements of the infrastructure (key facilities) • preventing terrorist organizations from gaining access to technologies and materials necessary to create weapons of mass destruction and preparing to eliminate the consequences of terrorist acts that might entail mass casualties among the population • creating a national emergency response system Regarding bilateral cooperation between our countries, I would highlight the following areas in which we should join forces first: • timely detection and prevention of terrorist acts • efforts to counter and operationally respond to emergency situations caused by the possible use of nuclear, biological, and chemical materials (this could also include wide-scale attacks in the information and communications sphere) • the struggle against financing and other assistance for carrying out terror- ist acts • exchange of information, experience, and technologies and unification of standards in all spheres—legal, scientific, technological, and others • study of the roots of terrorism’s origins and of the organization of terror- ists’ motivational and ideological work on citizens and efforts to counter such phenomena I would like to note that international terrorists have neither nationality nor religion. On the contrary, it is religion and national culture that now as never before require protection against the destructive impact of all sorts of extremism. A respectful dialogue is needed among various faiths and civilizations. With its ties to both the West and the East, Russia is prepared to play a role in this process, which is called upon to prevent the schism of civilization.

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2 COUNTERING URBAN TERRORISM Of course, the aspects of antiterrorist activities that I have presented do not fully cover the entire range of problems associated with the study of terrorism, a range that will likely be augmented significantly from discussions at this workshop. In conclusion, I would like to express my confidence that the joining of efforts by scientists from the national academies of the United States and Russia to address these problems will be fruitful and to wish you success in this difficult but extremely important and responsible endeavor.

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