2002 年 2002 巻 31 号 p. 20-37
The Maskhadov regime relied on Islam to resolve feuds among major leaders in Chechnya after the first Chechen war ended in 1996. Taking advantage of the situation, the Wahhabi expanded their influence in the republic. The Wahhabi were comprised mainly of Arabic political Islamists, who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan and come to Chechnya to participate in the first Chechen war.
In the summer of 1998, Osama Bin Laden, a new sponsor of the Wahhabi in Chechnya, began to establish a close relationship with anti-Maskhadov leaders (field commanders) attracting them by his abundant funds and his idea of establishing a unified Islamic republic in the north Caucasus. Encouraged by Bin Laden, Chechen armed forces attempted to invade the Russian republic of Dagestan in August 1999.
As Moscow lost no time in launching a counter attack, another Chechen war commenced. The Chechen conflict posed a threat to Russia in that it might not have only undermined Russia's territorial integrity, but could have also become a pretext for western countries, including the United States, to meddle in Russia's domestic affairs. Russia tried in vain to persuade Washington that Chechen separatists were disguised international terrorists and that Russia suffered from the same terrorism as the U.S. had during 1998 with American embassy attacks in Africa. The United States continued to attach importance to the human-rights aspects of the Chechen issue. President Vladimir Putin, taking office in 2000, was not able to make the U.S. change its attitude toward the Chechen problem as his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, had likewise found impossible.
In Russia, moreover, some forces, especially the military elite, were opposed to cooperation with the United States. They alleged that none other than the U.S. had played a role in stirring up the situation in the north Caucasus. Thus, there would be no cooperation between the two countries for an anti-terrorist struggle.
The situation abruptly changed after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. U.S.-Russian relations as concerned terrorism seemed to take a 180 degree turnabout. Close analysis of the relationship, however, would show that Russia gave way more in the U.S. direction than vice versa. President Putin allowed Central Asian countries to accept U.S. military presence two weeks after the terrorist attacks, with the Republic of Georgia to follow suit during the spring of 2002 in defiance of the resistance of the political and military elite in Russia. He expected to ease their frustrations by successfully suppressing Chechen armed forces as a result of promoting cooperation between Russia and the United States. He also expected that Washington would admit Russia's war in Chechnya to be a war on terrorism. Such expectations, however, were not met.
The political forces in Russia, therefore, having assumed a negative attitude toward cooperation with the U.S., grew more frustrated. President Putin was forced to take steps to soothe their feelings. When he implied that he was ready to dispatch Russian troops to the Pankisskoye Gorge in the Republic of Georgia to eradicate Chechen fighters during September 2002, he intended to assuage the political and military elite which had not welcomed the U.S. military presence in Georgia from its inception.