Volume 1, Number 4
Ramadan, 1417/Januray, 1997
Chechens Prepare to Establish New Government

As the last Russian soldiers left Chechnya, formally ending a humiliating military defeat for the largest nation in the world and its leaders, the Chechens remain in charge of their country with more than dozen candidates vying for Chechnya’s presidency. A failure to deliver on the promise of leading Chechnya to independence is likely to spark violent reprisals from heavily armed hard-liners, many of them partisans of consolidating Islamic law in the republic.

It is also thought that Moscow must not recognize Chechen sovereignty to avoid deepening disillusion in the army—deeply frustrated by its inability to eliminate the Chechen resistance—and to discourage other ethnic groups from pressing for more autonomy.

One thing is certain: what was expected in Moscow to be a quick campaign turned out to be long, bloody and disastrous akin to the Afghanistan "adventure" ended only a few years back.

Turkey and Iran Sign Agreement

Despite intense opposition by the United States, Iran and Turkey signed an agreement of economic cooperation, in which they agreed to build a $23 billion gas pipeline between the two nations. In defiance of US pressure, which declared sanctions would be made against any country doing more than $40 million in business with Iran, Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey travelled to Iran and signed the agreement.

President Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran in a recent interview by the newspaper Turkish Daily News, expressed his hope for increasing cooperation between his nation, Turkey and Syria. He expressed concern that some Arab nations oppose Iran, something which is against the Islamic ethos. Further he expressed a willingness to open up relations with the US if the US were to stop accusing Iran of backing terrorist acts, such as the bombing of the US base in Saudi Arabia. He strongly rejected any Iranian involvement in these and other recent bombings.

Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani’s recent visit to Turkey a NATO member, were he was hosted with honor, is helping to break the ice of foreign relations surrounding Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. However, tension remains between Ankara and Tehran over Turkey’s renewed $600 million military agreement with Israel to modernize Turkish F4 fighter-bombers.

The US moves to destabilise Sudan

Considering it a key supporter of international terrorism and instability in the Middle East, the US has launched a campaign to destabilise the government of Sudan. Over $20 million of military equipment will be shipped to the area in the near future. Although the equipment is earmarked for armed forces of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda, it is expected that the equipment will be passed to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), as it prepares an offensive against the government in Khartoum.

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