Gaddafi's tent in central Grozny (weekly review)
By Dzhambulat Are
GROZNY, Chechnya – In 2010 the people of Chechnya will have a rare opportunity to see the Bedouin tent in which the leader of the Libyan revolution, Muammar bin Muhammad Abu Menyar Abdel Salam bin Hamed, better known as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, traditionally prefers to stay. The tent will be pitched in the centre of Grozny. On Sunday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov agreed the future meeting with Gaddafi at a meeting held behind closed doors in the Russian president’s residence near Moscow.
The Chechen president’s press service emphasizes that the meeting was an unusually cordial one. Understandably so, as it turns out that Muammar Gaddafi has long been following the activities of the head of the rebellious Russian province who, like many Arab sheikhs, owns racehorses and a private zoo.
In the biography of the leader of the Libyan Revolution we read that "it is well-known that among his hobbies Gaddafi includes a passion for horses and hunting (the latter being the result of his association with the former Romanian dictator Ceausescu), and an interest in various types of weapons and special communications. He devotes all the rest of the time to his work: the Libyan leader’s working day lasts from 16 to 18 hours. However, a couple of hours’ sleep and some physical exercises work wonders, restoring him to freshness and enthusiasm. Gaddafi is a difficult partner in conversation, and does not like empty rhetoric. He likes to hear everything that is said to him, but also likes others to listen and not interrupt."
The similarities with Ramzan Kadyrov are striking.
As is customary in the East, the two leaders did not stint lavish praise of each other. With his characteristic directness, Kadyrov said that Gaddafi was one of the recognized leaders of the Muslim world and that therefore his opinions carry a great deal of weight with the Chechen Republic and its leadership. The Chechen President told the guest he knew that each year Gaddafi marks the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in one of the countries of the Muslim world. In this connection Ramzan Kadyrov invited the Libyan leader to come to Chechnya and spend the holiday there in 2010.
Kadyrov’s press service stresses that the offer was accepted with gratitude. And as on arriving in a foreign capital the leader of the Libyan Jamahiriya does not like to change his domestic surroundings – at home he lives in a Bedouin tent – a tent will be erected in Grozny for the distinguished guest. While it is true that tents do not have pleasant associations for Chechens, as they are all too familiar with them from the time of their Kazakhstan exile, they are nonetheless more than ready to accommodate the wishes of their foreign guest.
Meanwhile, the shooting continued in Chechnya as usual last week. At midnight on November 1 a checkpoint on the road between Gudermes and Shuani manned by the sadly familiar Vostok special battalion came under fire from unidentified gunmen travelling in a Zhiguli car. As a result, the company’s deputy commander was shot in the head and taken to hospital. It turned out that the weapon used was a Makarov pistol. People in the know say that in the current circumstances the guerrillas are increasingly resorting to such weapons, as a pistol is easy to conceal on one’s person and can be thrown away without difficulty if need be.
In addition, the guerrillas constantly target members of the Yug battalion, which also operates in the south of Chechnya, especially the Vedensky district. On October 31 the body of one of these soldiers was discovered with gunshot wounds near the village of Neftyanoye, not far from Vedeno, the district centre. According to a Chechen interior ministry source, the 28 year-old soldier had fallen behind his group, and after some time was found dead in the forest.
During the past month the Chechen law enforcement agencies have arrested 31 men. The detainees are all charged with being members of Ichkerian or Caucasus Emirate armed units.
As usual, this is happening before the onset of winter. The Chechen fighters are now stockpiling food and essential ammunition. Knowing the strategy of their former colleagues, the local law enforcers have been organizing a manhunt for people who give help to the mujahideen. Thus, on October 29, near the village of Goyty, Urus-Martanovsky district, they arrested two youths who were taking food to the “forest brothers”. One of the detainees is not yet seventeen. The mujahideen have no particular problems in obtaining supplies, as their field commanders have repeatedly pointed out.
The photograph is borrowed from the website www.trud.ru.
Previous weekly reviews can be read at http://www.watchdog.cz/weekly.
(Translation by DM)