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Moscow metro bombings: Russia should reinvent how it handles terrorism

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IN PICTURES: Moscow metro bombings

By 1999 the original, secular Chechen leadership had been replaced by jihadist thugs supported by Al Qaeda. The Taliban was the only foreign power to recognize independent “Ichkeriya.” Slave markets and weapons bazaars flourished. Arab emissaries financed, trained, and equipped the Chechen mujahedeen. Reports of kidnappings and decapitations became common news headlines.

When the Chechens invaded neighboring Dagestan, Vladimir Putin, then the newly appointed prime minister, retaliated with overwhelming force. The bloody counterinsurgency lasted until 2005, led by Islamists Shamil Basaev and an Al Qaeda-affiliated Jordanian known as Khattab. Mr. Basaev proclaimed his goal was to create a North Caucasus emirate from the Black Sea to the Caspian that would become part of the global caliphate. Had he succeeded, the newly created emirate would have disrupted the flow of oil from the Caspian to Western markets and become a chronic threat to Russia and Europe.

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