Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Russia Shows What Happens When Terrorists’ Families Are Targeted

By ANDREW E. KRAMER, NYT
MARCH 29, 2016

MOSCOW — Donald J. Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, was widely condemned when he called for the United States to “take out the families” of terrorists.

His approach — even after he clarified that he was not talking about killing the relatives — was dismissed by many as immoral and unlawful. Yet, it is the very tactic that Russia has pursued for decades.

It is the signature, though officially unacknowledged, policy behind Moscow’s counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies, and Russia’s actions in smashing a Muslim separatist rebellion in the Caucasus provide a laboratory for testing Mr. Trump’s ideas.

The family ties that bind in terrorist groups came into focus last week after the police in Brussels disclosed that two of the three suicide bombers in the attacks there were brothers, Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui. All told, analysts estimate that a third of the participants in terrorist acts are related to another attacker.

In the conflict that began in Chechnya and has since metastasized into a loosely organized Islamic rebellion throughout the Caucasus region, Russian security services routinely arrest, torture and kill relatives, rights groups say.

The Russian approach, enough to make supporters of waterboarding wince, has by some accounts been grimly effective. Abductions of family members unwound the rebel leadership in Chechnya, for example.

(More here.)

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