[A-List] Russia/US developments (was Thinking The Unthinkable)
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Fri Mar 1 01:17:24 MST 2002
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 27. Feb. 2002
It would be most awkward for the Europeans if they were suddenly to
that Washington found it easier to agree with Russia than with its
traditional allies on the big issues -- such as weapons of mass
"rogue states," and energy resources.
That would mean Europe was more marginalized than ever.
Mark Jones raised this scenario several months ago. There are still
major differences separating the Pentagon and the Russian military,
however, if recent reports re the Blair-backed "North Atlantic Council"
proposals are anything to go by. And then there is the continuing
development of US strategic penetration of Central Asia, which is
raising some alarm within the Kremlin:
Russia sees red at US forces plan for Georgia
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
The Independent, 28 February 2002
Russia took sharp issue yesterday with US plans to send
special forces units to Georgia - a move that would bring
Washington's campaign against terrorism into the very heart of
what Moscow considers to be its direct sphere of influence.
Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, warned that the US
risked worsening the already fraught security situation in the
Caucasus after reports suggested the Pentagon may send
between 100 and 200 men to train Georgia's army to combat
The aim of the exercise is to tackle the dozens of al-Qa'ida
fighters who Washington believes to be in the Pankisi Gorge
region of northern Georgia close to Chechnya, where Russia
has been fighting a bloody war with separatist rebels for most
of the past decade.
Moscow has long maintained the Chechen war is largely
fuelled by Islamic extremists, some of them
Afghanistan-trained al-Qa'ida operatives. But at this point the
US-Russian anti-terror partnership begins to unravel.
Russia is already worried about America's increased military
presence in central Asia. It wants a joint Russian/Georgian
operation to tackle the problem. But Georgia's fragile
government is deeply suspicious of Russia, while its President,
Eduard Shevardnadze, is America's strongest friend in the
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