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Beslan's lessons: is pre-emption better than cure?


Sussex, MA, Beslan's lessons: is pre-emption better than cure?, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 58, (4) pp. 419-423. ISSN 1035-7718 (2004) [Letter or Note in Journal]

DOI: doi:10.1080/1035771042000304698


The brutal ending to the school siege in the North Ossetian town of Beslan serves as a tragic reminder that seemingly irrational violence remains a central feature of contemporary international politics. In an attempt to understand how Beslan could have occurred, questions about the nature of the Chechen war and the specific response of the Russian security services have been posed to a Putin administration elected - and subsequently returned to power - on a platform that prioritised order ahead of Russia's ailing democratisation project. Some of these questions, such as Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot's insinuation that Russian commandos were to blame for the bloodbath, were misguided. Russian forces, mindful of past criticism of heavy-handedness during the October 2002 siege of a Moscow theatre in which over 100 hostages died, adopted a more patient approach at Beslan. Once a mine detonated inside the school, and terrorists began gunning down those who took the opportunity to flee amid the confusion, on-site commanders had little option but to order a full-scale assault. More thoughtful questions pertain to Russia's conduct in the war against Chechnya, and whether Putin has deliberately sidestepped political solutions in his quest to preserve Russia's territorial integrity. Ultimately, in order to better identify avenues for conflict resolution we also need to determine to what extent the crisis should be interpreted as part of a global war on terror (GWOT) and what the implications are for Russian security policy-making. © 2004 Australian Institute of International Affairs.

Item Details

Item Type:Letter or Note in Journal
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:International relations
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:International relations
Objective Field:International relations not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Sussex, MA (Dr Matthew Sussex)
ID Code:32563
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2005-03-20
Last Modified:2005-03-20

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