By Thomas Foster
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2898

West’s double standards over attack on Moscow concert

Look at how the West used the 9/11 attacks to justify their ‘War on Terror’
Issue 2898
Russian president Vladmir Putin illustrating a story about the attack on the Moscow concert

Russian president Vladmir Putin has suggested that Ukraine is behind the attack on the Moscow concert hall (Picture: Russian Presidential Palace)

Reaction to last week’s ­concert hall terror attack in Moscow, Russia, has exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of the world’s ­biggest powers.

Gunmen stormed the Crocus City concert hall last Friday killing more than 130 people. Isis’s affiliate in Afghanistan, Isis-K, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is a viciously sectarian force which grew out of imperialist attempts to dominate Muslim populations in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The attackers, armed with machine guns, stormed the hall and shot at the crowd, while also setting fire to the building.

The Russian government says it has arrested all four gunmen and this week paraded them in court—despite visible signs of them having been tortured.

Security forces cut off the ear of one of the attackers and another was brought to the court in a wheelchair, unable to open his eyes.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has so far made no mention of Isis’s claim to have carried out the attack.

Instead, he suggests that Ukraine was involved. He said “the Ukrainian side” had “prepared a window” for the border into Ukraine, claiming that the gunmen were fleeing there.

Putin vowed in his address to “punish everyone who stands behind the terrorists”. He may well use the killings as an excuse to ramp up Russia’s war efforts against Ukraine, which has become a proxy war between Russian and Western imperialism. And he’ll likely increase repression in Russia itself.

The Western media is warning Putin against using the killings to push for escalation in Ukraine. But this is exactly how the West has responded to attacks on its soil.

Look at how George Bush and Tony Blair used the 9/11 attacks to justify wars on Afghanistan and Iraq—and their wider “War on Terror”.

And 9/11 was also used to heighten fears that the West was under threat from an enemy that was “culturally alien”, with Islamophobia used to demonise Muslims at home and abroad.

But the official reaction to the attack on Russia is very different to when attacks target the West. And, after the January 2015 al‑Qaida attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices, ruling class politicians flocked to Paris to show their support.

They included Binyamin Netanyahu and other blood-soaked warmongers. After the November 2015 attacks on the Bataclan theatre in Paris and the Stade de France, again there was universal “official” mourning.

Now the West’s overwhelming desire to smash Russia strangles any such sentiment. Isis is itself a legacy of the infernal cycle of imperialist interventions.

The US and British-led destruction of Iraqi and their support for groups sowing sectarian divisions, laid the foundations for Isis and others.

Those groups helped fill the political void that imperialism created. And Russia’s history of assaults against Muslims will likely have contributed to the attack.

Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute, told the Al Jazeera news network that Isis-K uses examples of Russian oppression of Muslims in its communications.

“The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan” and “Russian actions in Chechnya” mean that “Russian foreign policy has been one big red flag,” he said.

The Russian state has ­committed atrocities in Chechnya—a primarily Muslim area currently under Russian rule.

In the 1990s, it led bloody colonial wars against Chechnya after the republic declared independence. To enable this slaughter, the state has long used Islamophobia to dehumanise the Chechen people, proclaiming them “the enemy within”.

Following the war, sections of the Chechen movement did deals with Putin and are now herding people to fight in Ukraine.

Others were drawn towards groups such as Isis. It may never be clear who was behind last week’s attacks in Moscow. The West is perfectly capable of encouraging such horrors.

And so is Putin, whose regime used, or perhaps orchestrated, the 2002 Moscow theatre attack in which 132 hostages died. The attack in Moscow was a tragedy. But we can’t let it fuel ever more imperialist violence.

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