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Speech delivered at the inauguration of Moscow’s Grand Mosque (“Moscow Cathedral Mosque“), September 23, 2015:

Posted to YouTube by Inessa S October 9, 2016.

Posted to YouTube by RT, September 23, 2015.

Additional news coverage —

The New Arab.  “Mosque opening in Moscow attended by Putin, Abbas, Erdogan.”  September 23, 2015.

If you only look at the surface of his speech, which is, of course, very good, you will miss the story.

If from the opening – at 0:03 – you will see two familiar leaders, Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO/PA and Tayyip Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey.

If you’re a BackChannels reader, you know of Abbas’s listing with the KGB.

You may also recall a piece about Erdogan’s shift toward Moscow, his relenting to apologize to Putin for the downing of an aggressive Russian fighter jet (Turkey reported the then unknown aircraft more than two miles inside of its border), and then resuming the Russia-dependent Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project followed by a repressive coup / countercoup period leading to the buttressing of his own autocracy.

While the surface may look calm — and in the above video positively modern and multicultural — here’s additional reference to what appears to lie beneath.

Incubation of ISIL

https://conflict-backchannels.com/2016/09/14/isil-groomed-for-a-role-in-assad-vs-the-terrorists/ – 9/14/2016.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/2015/10/02/syria-assad-vs-the-terrorists-how-isis-defends-assad/ – 10/2/2015

Kadyrov’s Islam

The president of Chechnya emerged from afternoon prayers at a mosque and with chilling composure explained why seven young women who had been shot in the head deserved to die.

Ramzan Kadyrov said the women, whose bodies were found dumped by the roadside, had “loose morals” and were rightfully shot by male relatives in honor killings.

Berry, Lynn.  “Chechen leader imposes strict Islamic code.”  The New York Times, March 2, 2009.

Earlier this month, the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, informed his more than one million followers on social networks that he had become “the happiest man in this land.” Something had come to pass that he never could have dreamed of, he said. He had had a transfusion, he said, from a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, so now he has the Prophet’s blood flowing through his veins.

Nemtsova, Anna.  “The Kremlin’s Favorite Muslim, Kadyrov, Goes Too Far.”  The Daily Beast, September 28, 2015.

RAMZAN KADYROV has few inhibitions. Last week, just before the first anniversary of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, a liberal Russian opposition leader, by a member of Mr Kadyrov’s security services, the Chechen strongman posted a video on his Instagram page. It depicted Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister, in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. “Kasyanov is in Strasbourg to get money for the opposition,” Mr Kadyrov commented under the video, in a clear warning to opposition politicians. “Whoever still doesn’t get it, will.”

The Economist.  “Putin’s Chechen enforcer: The alarming world of Ramzan Kadyrov.”  February 6, 2016.

Vladimir Putin said when he first ran for president in 2000 that his “historic mission” was to resolve the situation in the North Caucasus. To do so, he oversaw a second war in Chechnya, already devastated by Russia’s failed attempt to subdue the republic in 1994-1996.

Instead of solving the North Caucasus issue, however, Putin created a monster. To end the fighting, he cut a deal with Chechnya’s rebel Kadyrov clan: In exchange for loyalty to the Kremlin, they received power and reconstruction aid.

This was a medieval deal that made Akhmad Kadyrov, a rebel commander and Sufi mufti, Putin’s feudal liege. The aim was to co-opt the more religiously moderate Sufis among Chechnya’s rebel fighters, marginalize the Salafist jihadists who appear to have fascinated the Boston bombers, and enable the Russian military to declare victory and draw down.

Judah, Ben.  “Putin’s Medieval Peace Pact in Chechnya.”  Bloomberg View, April 25, 2013.

Persecution of the Tatars

This subject is complicated by “Hizb ut-Tahrir”, a Tatar organization supportive of the Chechen rebels (presumably against affiliates of warlord Kadyrov) but not active itself with terrorism and, apparently, acting in the open.

Here’s reference.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/2016/05/08/fns-russia-steps-up-terror-offensive-with-armed-raid-on-mosque-in-occupied-crimea-khpg-org/ – 5/8/2016.


Euromaidan Press.  “Crimea occupation authorities plan “Islamic extremist” show trial against Crimean Tatars– Mejlis head.”  June 7, 2016.

Naumlyuk, Anton.  “Crimean Tatars respond to persecution with collective prayer.”  Euromaidan Press, July 13, 2016.

” .  . teach people mercy, justice, and to care for one another . . . .”

Heffer, Greg.  “‘Hell beyond hell’ Syria snipers use unborn babies as target practice.”  Express, October 19, 2013.  The story has abundant corroboration in multiple major — and vetted — publications, including CNN – “Syrian snipers target pregnant women, unborn babies, doctor says” (October 23, 2013).


http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/syria-war-calls-sanctions-chemical-weapons-160831045020057.html – 8/31/2016.

Chemall, Hagar Hajjar.  “Why Syria’s children should be a global priority.” CNN, September 1, 2016.

Posted to YouTube by BBC News, March 15, 2016.

Crimea, Ukraine

Sterling, Toby and Anthony Deutsch.  “Malaysian flight MH17 downed by Russian-made missile: prosecutors.”  Reuters, September 28, 2016.

Pifer, Steven.  “Watch Out for Little Green Men.”  Brookings, July 7, 2014.

The Pentagon has identified eight staging areas in Russia where large numbers of military forces appear to be preparing for incursions into Ukraine, according to U.S. defense officials.

As many as 40,000 Russian troops, including tanks, armored vehicles, and air force units, are now arrayed along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

Gertz, Bill.  “Russian Military Forces Staging Near Ukraine.”  The Washington Free Beacon, August 17, 2016.

One could research and read through the many themes, but I like Ben Judah’s comment best regarding the compact between Putin and Kadyrov: “This was a medieval deal that made Akhmad Kadyrov, a rebel commander and Sufi mufti, Putin’s feudal liege. The aim was to co-opt the more religiously moderate Sufis among Chechnya’s rebel fighters, marginalize the Salafist jihadists who appear to have fascinated the Boston bombers, and enable the Russian military to declare victory and draw down.”

BackChannels has been singing medieval about “Putin, Assad, and Khamenei (and Baghdadi)” for ages, but the observation now begs another question: how modern is the west?

If we call what we have been witnessing in Syria a “New Medievalism”, we may well ask where is NATO on the timeline of political conventions?

BackChannels hopes there is such a thing as “Modern” in governance  and that it is supported by the bravery in arms, integrity in character, and the honest research of the thoughtful.

Related in Recent News

Conley, Heather A.  “The Kremlin Playbook.”  Center for Strategic & International Studies, October 13, 2016.

Mortimer, Caroline.  “Russia tensions with US ‘more dangerous’ than during the Cold War.”  Independent, October 10, 2016.

Posted to YouTube by CSIS, October 13, 2016.