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Russians are now faced with the threat of global terrorism
The recent crash of two Russian airliners, the subsequent bomb explosion near a Moscow subway station, the hostage-taking crisis in the southern Russian city of Beslan-what do these tragedies have in common? - Money, argues Retired Lieutenant General Ivan Mironov, an authoritative Russian counter-terrorism expert. In an interview with the news magazine Itogi, Mironov points out that the Russians are now faced with the threat of global terrorism rather than the fanaticism of lone suicide bombers from Chechnya, as had been the case until recently. Global terrorist groups targeting Russia are formed mostly with Arabs, who have been trained abroad and whose mindset and goals are different from those of Chechen rebels. Mironov says authorities will now have to carefully analyze the makeup of such groups to single out those of their members with whom some kind of an arrangement "on our terms" could be made. Large sums of money are allocated for terrorist acts with potentially heavy death tolls, Mironov notes. According to him, the Jordanian-born warlord Hattab, who operated in Chechnya, had Arab financiers send money to him first so that he could then personally distribute it among individual fighters on the basis of their performance. These days, it is all about contribution and cost, Mironov says. If it fails to produce any tangible results, a terrorist group will just not be paid for its work. Terrorists now have to provide video footage or other evidence to prove that they have achieved something. Documentary evidence is first sent to analysts, who then pass it on with commentary to headquarters in Saudi Arabia. There, such reports are reviewed and excerpts from the footage are given to Al-Jazeera Television to broadcast. Video accounts of specific terrorist operations are used for determining the amounts of money to be paid to the contributors and for inspiring more attacks. According to Mironov, Arabs have commercialized their jihad. They are the customers on the terrorist market while Chechens are the suppliers. It has been noticed that when money runs out, terrorist activity will subside. Arabs finance Chechen rebel groups through religious and charity fund-raising campaigns. "Help for fellow Moslems" is the rhetoric used to solicit money. Sources inside Russia contribute proceeds from drug trafficking and the circulation of counterfeit money. According to practices established by Hattab and some other warlords, some of the money allocated for terrorist activity would go to support militants during their time-off. Gunmen-turned-civilians could thus start a business of their own and contribute part of their income to keep the "holy war" going. Some of the petroleum-producing countries seek to undermine Russia's competitiveness on the world oil market, and their special services try to keep the Caucasus fire burning by luring in terrorists from across the world, Mironov said in conclusion.
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