Moscow is warning the United States that “plans to extend the geography of the current anti-terror operations … may deal a severe blow” to U.S./Russian relations, according to official Russian sources.
“There are fears that Washington, intoxicated by the success of operations in Afghanistan,” may engage in “unilateral measures, and in doing so, deal a severe blow not only at the anti-terror coalition but also at the emerging trust between Russia and the United States,” Moscow stated.
“Rash decisions may jeopardize the whole system of international relations and generate new confrontations in the 21st century,” Moscow warned darkly.
The statements were carried by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government.
Moscow’s statements were directed at U.S. President George Bush’s description of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea forming an “axis of evil” during his Jan. 29 State of the Union address.
Moscow had already condemned U.S. assertions that the U.S. does not need U.N. approval to carry the war on terror to other nations actively supporting terrorism.
“That’s a dangerous stand,” Moscow declared.
Referring directly to the possibility of a U.S. attack against Iraq, Moscow said that “military operations against Iraq would destabilize the present situation in the entire region.”
“Threats against Baghdad, Tehran, and Pyongyang are becoming louder. … Moscow holds that such moves [as military operations] must comply with international law and [have] U.N. sanctions. …” Moscow stated.
Observers note that left unspoken in either Bush’s “axis of evil” declaration or Moscow’s retorts is the reality that Russia is one of the most important supporters of each of the three “evil” nations.
North Korea’s relations with Moscow extend to the days of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Kim Il Sung, the father of North Korea’s present leader, Kim Jong Il, and have been reaffirmed in recent summit meetings.
In July 2000, Kim Jong Il welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to North Korea. During the visit, the Voice of Russia commented that the visit “once again has given the lie to those in Washington who choose to divide the world into decent and rogue states.”
Following Putin’s visit, then-Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev declared his nation’s enthusiasm for developing military ties with North Korea.
August found the North Korean leader in Moscow after traveling to the Russian capital exclusively by train. After the visit, Putin and Kim issued a joint statement, which the Voice of Russia described as declaring that the two nations “share views on the most important international developments,” and declared as “groundless” U.S. fears of North Korean nuclear weapons development.
Relations between Russia and Iran have continually improved, with Moscow assisting Tehran in building nuclear power plants. In March, Russia and Iran signed a comprehensive treaty of friendship and cooperation that included provisions for increasing trade, cooperation between the two nations “in the struggle against terrorism,” and Russia’s sale of weapons to Iran.
In January 2001, Sergeyev had discussed the possibility with Iran of a strategic military alliance, which could also include India.
Moscow’s relations with Iraq remain close. In April, Putin received a high-level delegation from Iraq, and issued a statement describing Baghdad as Russia’s “longtime partner” and expressing Moscow’s interest in establishing “a high level of cooperation with Baghdad.”
At present, Russia is the top importer of Iraqi goods.
Iraq remains a top suspect on the list of supporters of terror. One particularly strange link between Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, and terror comes from a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report.
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Saddam Hussein received the terrorist group “Al-qari’a” (Day of Judgment) “as a present” on his 63rd birthday in April 2000 from his erratic and murderous son, Uday.
According to the report, the group has some 1,200 members trained in sabotage, urban warfare, hijacking and kidnapping. The members of the group are believed to carry false United Arab Emirates passports.