Russia needs to solve its problems in Chechnya before chasing another Bin Laden
Israel offers Russia unprecedented cooperation in the anti-terrorist struggle. Israel is also ready to assist in the rehabilitation of the Beslan hostage crisis victims. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Israel may speed up negotiations about the cooperation.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon released statements about the need to set up an international anti-terrorist alliance. The two officials announced that independently of one another. According to Lavrov, one has to take lessons from the hideous crime in Beslan. The minister confirmed that Russia would continue fighting this evil decisively and uncompromisingly within the scope of the anti-terrorist coalition.
Until recently, Western countries did not have a precise answer to the question about Russia's membership in the group of countries, which assumed obligations to struggle with global terrorism. Russia made a correct decision not to join the anti-Iraqi coalition, and now it is ready to cooperate more actively in the war with terror.
Lavrov stressed in an interview with Haaretz that the war against terrorism has nothing in common with the war against Islam. “The perception of this war as a religious conflict or a clash of civilizations will suit terrorists, who do not belong to any religion or nationality,” Lavrov stated.
Reserve IDF colonel Ephraim Michaeli told Israeli reporters that the anti-terrorist cooperation between Russia and Israel has been artificially restrained. However, the colonel believes, Russian officials have always respected Israel's achievements in the field. “Russians admire Israel in this field,” Michaeli told an Israeli radio station. The colonel expanded: “Russians see us as a superpower at this point.”
The Israeli prime minister said at a cabinet session before Lavrov's arrival: “Once again it has been proved that terror... does not distinguish between adults and children. Terror has no justification. This is the time for the free, decent and human world to unite and fight this terrible epidemic, which has no borders.” An Israeli official stated that the Russian government realized the issue of the global Islamic threat the country was facing.
Despite the scheduled cooperation, Israeli reporters asked Lavrov, if Russia continued the traditional Soviet pro-Arab policy. “Russia's policy is neither pro-Arab, nor pro-Israel. It is aimed at securing Russian national interests. Maintaining close and friendly ties with Arab states and Israel is among them,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Sharon promised to stand side by side with Russia “in the global Islamic Jihad.” The exchange of intelligence information in a larger volume will be the first step in the new relations between Russia and Israel.
It is important for Russia that the anti-terrorist struggle should not take a shape of another campaign with solemn reports to governmental officials. Russia may find itself trapped, if it forgets the fact that it pays for its own political failures in the Caucasus. Israel fights Palestinian terrorist groups, and Russia needs to solve its problems in Chechnya before chasing another Bin Laden.