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ANALYST ON “DIRTY BOMB” THREAT BY ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS

(EurasiaNet) Kyrgyz analyst Ulan Kankor looks into reports which say that international terrorists are allegedly moving to Central Asia and probably to Kyrgyzstan’s Dzhalal-Abad Region because it has many uranium damps left from the Soviet era. He also highlights the recent session of the Kyrgyz Security Council to which the official Kyrgyz clergy were reportedly invited. Kankor suggests that the authorities want to initiate closer cooperation with the clergy to prevent the spread of radicalism in the country. The following is an excerpt from Ulan Kankor’s article “Will Bin Ladin get his residence permit in Dzhalal-Abad?”, published by the Kyrgyz newspaper Belyy Parokhod on 19 September; subheadings as published:

It is predicted that there will be a “Fergana Hiroshima” in Central Asia. The head of the CIS antiterrorism centre, Andrey Novikov, said the other day that secret services had obtained information that terrorists were moving to the borders of Central Asia states. The terrorists are seeking ways of creating weapons of mass destruction there. They are interested in the material for creating the so-called “dirty bombs”. According to intelligence officers, the terrorists are planning to get the filling for their atomic bombs at the uranium mines. These kinds of mines, by the way, also exist in our country.

Are they going to fill in “dirty bombs” in Mayli Su?

There are uranium mines in Dzhalal-Abad Region [southern Kyrgyzstan]. As we know there are also dumps containing radioactive waste from dangerous production. It is said that the [former] USSR created its nuclear cudgel from a heavy metal extracted on the Tien Shan. Now it is alleged that comrade Usamah Bin-Laden and his supporters have decided to follow the Soviet path.

The tailing dumps in the south of Kyrgyzstan have long turned into a time nuclear bomb even without terrorist number one. There is a constant threat that some of them [tailing dumps] may be flooded away into the river running to the Fergana Valley and further to the Aral Sea. Besides, the facilities are gradually crumbling away. The government is trying to attract foreign donors to restore the tailing dumps.

[Passage omitted: Kyrgyzstan has appealed to many international organizations for help]

At a time the authorities are seeking ways of resolving the problem, thousands of tonnes of dangerous waste continue to pose a frightening threat. Pessimists believe that, in addition to the time factor, the human factor will aggravate the situation. During the Batken events [an armed incursion into Kyrgyzstan by rebels from Tajikistan in 1999 and 2000], according to some reports, the authorities were worrying about the possibility of terrorist attacks on the tailing dumps. Mainly few environmentalists and guards among local residents watch the dumps of nuclear waste materials.

Theoretically, it is rather easy to carry out a terrorist attack on a tailing dump. The main thing is to know which place is better for placing TNT to cause maximum damage. If only a part of the waste from uranium tailing damps gets into water, then the organizer of such an act will be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, living in the zone of possible radioactive contamination.

Fellow-countrymen of revolutionists

Dzhalal-Abad Region is known not only with its tailing dumps, but also with a great number of members of untraditional Islamic groups. Some of them have been recognized by the authorities and clerics of many countries as dangerous groups. The transparency of borders and a rather liberal system make it possible for them, even for supporters of extremist groups, to travel and settle down in the region. Such groups include Hezb-e Tahrir and the like.

The authorities believe they are dangerous and held them responsible for arranging and carrying out terrorist acts and murders of law-enforcement officers. Hezb-e Tahrir has officially been banned [in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia as a whole]. However, human rights organizations say that the local authorities are taking excessively tough measures against religious dissidents, and are thus violating all acceptable norms. But, if one looks at the general picture of the situation, then one will see that the authorities’ punitive measures could not keep down the number of those who are believed to be extremists.

Official sources say that the same Hezb-e Tahrir group in Kyrgyzstan numbers from 2,000 to 5,000 people. The figures, by the way, were announced several years ago, and since then, according to some reports, the figures have considerably increased. At the same time, active members of the banned groups now freely take part in protest actions, arrange rallies condemning the authorities and make use of corruption in the country [to resolve their problems]

[Passage omitted: the author quotes several examples of unidentified “extremists” who allegedly forged documents with the help of local officials to settle down in southern Kyrgyzstan]

Hezb-e Tahrir, as is known, has long been attempting to legalize themselves in the eyes of the public. The group has been sending its supporters to help residents in earthquake-stricken areas and providing great aid to poor families in the localities. And most importantly they are winning the people’s understanding by their ideology, promising them a better life in a caliphate [they intend to set up]. Some people doubt about it, but some others believe. As a result, members of the underground group can be more frequently seen even in the country’s northern regions, which have never stood out by their religiousness. Police officers once detained a man who was distributing leaflets near the central mosque in the capital of the country.

Whose friendship with whom will last longer?

At the same time, official Bishkek has been worrying over the increase in the number of supporters of extremist organizations and over security on the southern borders. A session of the Security Council of Kyrgyzstan was dedicated at least to two of the above topics. For the first time over the 16 years of sovereignty, representatives of the clergy who share the worries of the authorities were invited to the session. The spiritual leaders were pleased with the attention towards them.

“It is a historic day for the Kyrgyz spiritual board of Muslims. For the first time over the years of independence, representatives from the Islamic clergy have been invited for these kinds of events. It has become a symbolic event for the country and the religious people,” the head of the spiritual directorate of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan, Murataly adzhi Dzhumanov, said.

[Passage omitted: the author says the press was not allowed to attend the security council; he quotes mufti Dzhumanov as saying that the security session discussed respect for religion]

It is not ruled out that the authorities intend to restore close cooperation between clerics and security services, which, if you believe historians, existed during the Soviet era. But it is more likely that the question is about an education campaign among Muslims. The authorities are trying to assign the enlightenment mission to the spiritual leaders. It is they who should explain their congregation where traditional Islam ends.

The clergy agreed to enlighten their congregation. The clergy also announced its wish to do this kind of work in the past, during numerous “round tables”, conferences and other forums. “We ourselves offered to carry out this kind of work, aimed at enhancing stability in society, among Muslims at mosques,” Murataly adzhi Dzhumanov said.

But the question is to what extent the mission will be successful or whether it will be carried out at all.

By the way, we were speaking about the “dirty bomb”. As it turned out the Security Council is aware about terrorists’ plans to create it. The information was received through information exchange channels between security services of Kyrgyzstan and that of other countries. The press secretary of the Security Council, Tokon Mamytov, confirmed this fact.

However he said that the Security Council did not possess information that the bomb would get its filling at uranium mines in Kyrgyzstan. “In any case, the terrorists’ plans will not materialize. We will not allow them to do this,” he assured.

One would like very much to believe that there is professional confidence behind the general’s bravado.

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September 26, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

1 Comment »

  1. So, what the heck is a clean bomb? The phrase dirty bomb is an orwellian fantasy.

    Comment by freeluncher | September 28, 2007 | Reply


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