Russian militants fight in Syria, raise fears back home

November 14, 2013

Moscow fears return of militants from Syria, Bangladeshi workers get a raise but protests go on, and Philippines president blasted over typhoon reaction. Today is Thursday, November 14, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

Local resident Dzhabrail Magomedov, who studied at a religious school in Damascus, looks on in Novosasitli village in the Dagestan region, September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ilyas Hajji

Militants’ return. Russian officials fear that locally-born Islamist militants, fighting in Syria alongside rebel troops, may return home to join a violent movement for an independent Islamic state. Deadly clashes between militants and law enforcement are a near-daily occurrence in the North Caucasus region, where some residents abide by Sharia law. Moscow reports that hundreds of Russians are now fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a long-time Russian ally. Some Russian militants who joined troops in Syria fought for Chechen independence in the 1990s, repurposing their training for a new battle:

Since Putin rose to power 13 years ago and crushed a Chechen separatist revolt, he has said he would not allow the Caucasus provinces to split from Russia. But the nationalist cause that inspired Chechens to revolt after collapse of the Soviet Union has mutated into an Islamic one that spread to nearby Caucasus mountain lands. Defeated in Chechnya, rebels now launch near-daily attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Today, the ranks of fighters are filled by youths disillusioned by police brutality, joblessness, corruption and the perceived persecution of religious conservatives.

Russia will host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and has renewed anti-terrorism laws in preparation for the event. This summer, insurgent leader Doku Umarov called for “maximum force” during the Olympics. Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed plans for a stalled peace conference and the country’s chemical weapons disarmament process with Assad. The opposition has insisted Assad’s removal be a prerequisite for peace negotiations.

A view of a cemetery, where people including militants killed by security forces are buried, on the suburbs of Makhachkala, October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Ilyas Hajji

Wage war. Bangladeshi garment workers protested on Thursday, saying the 77 percent minimum raise proposed by their employers was not enough. The hike would increase the monthly minimum wage from $38 to $68, a figure that would keep Bangladesh’s minimum wage the lowest in the world.

A policeman loads his gun during a clash with garment factory workers in Ashulia, November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

Violent protests have shuttered more than 100 clothing factories this week. Bangladesh’s lucrative garment industry was put under an international spotlight following the death of 1,130 people, mostly women, killed in the April collapse of a building housing several garment factories.

Aquino under fire. Philippines President Benigno Aquino faces criticism over his response to – and preparation for – the typhoon that devastated his country over the weekend, as foreign aircraft begin to deliver aid and ravaged towns start to bury their dead.

Remnants of a wall that was once part of a building of the Philippine Air Force is seen damaged in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan at the Tacloban airport, November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Aquino said casualties were avoided by evacuations, but victims report they did not receive sufficient warning of the tsunami-like wall of water. Philippines officiasl report 2,357 confirmed deaths, but aid workers expect the number of casualties to rise. According to the United Nations, 544,600 people were displaced by the storm and nearly 12 percent of the population was affected. Click through for an interactive chart showing the damage, and information on how to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Nota Bene: Disgraced German ex-president Christian Wulff stands trial for corruption.


Duke of Conehead – Glasgow saves a beloved statue. (The Atlantic Cities)

Book city – Krakow earns its literary accolades. (The Guardian)

Rock record – Pink Star diamond sets the record for most expensive gem. (BBC)

Prayer pair – Jews and Muslims may share Israel’s al-Aqsa Mosque. (Al Jazeera)

Oh, Canada – Canadians are not interested in a merger with the U.S. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

From the File:

  • Assad allies profit from lucrative food trade.
  • Revival of Islamists in Mali tests French, U.N. nerve.
  • Nasrallah says Hezbollah will stay in Syria as long as needed.
  • Egypt’s Sisi sees new defense cooperation with Russia.
  • Maduro vows no let-up in Venezuela business crackdown.
One comment

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> Russian militants fight in Syria
Can’t think of a better place for insane religious zealots to be killing each other than syria. And the rest of the Syrian citizens who had their opinion given to them by a priest – well they’re getting the life they want too.

Posted by UScitizentoo | Report as abusive