Saturday, October 09, 2004

Canadian mercenary killed in Chechnya

I watched a report about it two days ago on a Russian news program. In today's Globe$Mail Mark MacKinnon brings the story:
Rudwan Khalil, who according to his passport is a 26-year-old resident of Vancouver, was reportedly killed along with three other rebels Thursday in a gun battle outside Niki-Khita, in the Caucasus mountains in southern Chechnya

I don't know though where he got from, that Mr. Khalil was "described in local news reports as being of "Afro-American origin,"" - on the news he was called a person of "Arab origin". But I guess it's a trifle detail.

Also, apparently this guy was not a simple adventurer but a highly skilled sapper who had come to Chechnya to replace the captured predecessor.

But I just love the end of the story:
"News of the apparent involvement of a Canadian mercenary may force the conflict higher onto the agenda when Prime Minister Paul Martin visits Moscow next week.

Canada has in the past avoided public pronouncements on the war. Human-rights groups say it has spawned countless atrocities against civilians but Mr. Putin sees it as part of the international "war on terror."

Mr. Doiron said Canada is committed to fighting terrorism. "However, we believe this must be done in accordance with international law and in respect for human rights," he said. "Preventative war is not a path we favour."

Oh, I see, what that means - "bringing the conlflict higher on the agenda". The terrorist who turned to be a citizen of Canada is eliminiated in Chechnya. In the wake of this event Paul Martin is expected to lecture Putin just another time about human rights violations and make not so subtle references to the American foreign policy (preventative war and stuff).
Not that such criticism is unwarranted in principle. But the timing....
Silly me, I thought Paul Martin might as well apologize on behalf of other Canadian citizens and assure Putin that Canada is no breeding ground for terrorism, such incidents notewithstanding. But I guess I am wrong...


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