‘Pravy Sektor’ and ‘White Al-Qaeda’ – two sides of the same coin

‘Pravy Sektor’ and ‘White Al-Qaeda’ – two sides of the same coin

The situation in Ukraine is not changing by the day, but by the hour. The junta that has come to power as a result of the coup d’état organised from the outside is made up of fragmented, loosely-connected parts. Tymoshenko and Turchynov are fading into the background, not to mention Klitschko, while neo-Nazi Dmytro Yarosh, head of the international terrorist group Pravy Sektor («Right Sector»), and his right-hand man Andriy Paruby, who were included in the coup as part of the ‘temporary government’, are moving forward to take leading roles. It has been reported that some of the Pravy Sektor militants received military training in Lebanon and Syria... 

According to different sources, between several hundred and several thousand ‘dogs of war’ have already been deployed to Ukraine and are mostly converging on the Berkut base on the outskirts of Kiev. Yarosh’s gunmen are being reinforced by instructors and personnel from US private military companies. It is assumed that in the event of mass demonstrations by the pro-Russian-minded citizens of southeast Ukraine, these mercenaries have probably been entrusted with the task of terrorising the populations of Kharkov, Donetsk, Kherson, Odessa and other cities. 

At the present time, America’s primary focus is on Crimea, where a referendum on the self-determination of the Crimean people will take place on 16 March. On 11 March, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea banned the activities of pro-fascist and neo-Nazi political parties and groups, including Pravy Sektor, in Ukraine. Also included under the ban are UNA-UNSO, the Patriots of Ukraine, the Carpathian Sich, the Stepan Bandera Tryzub, Korchinsky’s Bratstvo («Brotherhood»), and a number of other organisations which «threaten the life and security of the Crimean people».

At the same time, it should be noted that in the difficult situation that has now arisen not so much in the Crimea but around the Crimea, the radical Islamist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in a number of countries, including Russia, but active on the peninsula, could be a definite danger. The movement is even outlawed in Sharia-controlled countries – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, and Oman, its activities are recognised as pseudo-religious and terroristic and, in some countries, membership in the movement is punishable either by prison or the death sentence. In the Crimea, however, (and remember that Crimean Tatars adhere to Sunni Islam), members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has headquarters in Simferopol, still feel at ease.

The first reports relating to the appearance of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Ukraine date back to the 1990s. Nowadays, the movement has, according to various estimates, between 2,000 and 15,000 supporters in Ukraine. (The exact number of members and the degree of their involvement in the organisation’s activities is carefully hidden.) Hizb ut-Tahrir aims to «re-establish a pan-Islamic state from the Middle East to Central Asia». Meanwhile, as noted by the leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s information office in Ukraine, Fazil Amzayev, «the aim of his party’s work in Ukraine is not to change the state boundaries». Hizb ut-Tahrir is not registered in Ukraine as a political party or as a religious organisation. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities have never prevented it from carrying out its various campaigns, including mass demonstrations and public protests. In a statement given when the Syrian crisis was in full swing, Fazil Amzayev stressed: «I cannot prevent Crimean Tatars from fighting against al-Assad». At the end of February 2014, the presence of approximately 700 Hizb ut-Tahrir militants was noted on Kiev’s Maidan Square.

It has also been noted more than once that radical Islamist groups are allowing the United States to achieve its own geostrategic objectives without any losses on the American side. These groups are involved in preparing the ground for a foreign invasion. The preparation itself is carried out in several stages. ‘Non-governmental organisations’ supported by the ‘heavy artillery’ of the West are usually active during the initial phase; this includes organisations like the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republic Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House (FH), and the Open Society Institute (OSI). The Center for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) is also a practical tool for carrying out ‘colour revolutions’, or seizing power in countries marked out as targets of revolutionary influence in other words. A series of ‘colour revolutions’ have been carried out successfully on account of these organisations: Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004, and Kyrgyzstan in 2005. 

Is it possible that areas in the southeast of Ukraine and the Crimea could also be at risk from the ‘terrorist international’? For the moment, the question is still open in our opinion. It should be remembered that over the past three years, radical Islamist groups have increased their activities in Europe considerably. There has also been an increase in the number of members in these groups from European countries, and terms like ‘the White al-Qaeda’ have come into general use in the Balkans. A revitalisation of radical Islam is even being seen in orthodox Greece, where a mosque built using money from Saudi Arabia has been opened in the capital. The influence of radical Islam and, accordingly, the establishment of Wahhabi groups is also noticeable in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city of Sarajevo, for example, was chosen as the centre for the Eastern European Muslim Conference set up relatively recently. It is also well known that during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia invested USD 373 million in the ‘Bosnian jihad’. Today, the Wahhabi movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina has become a permanent feature of the country’s political life and numbers some 3,000 people (out of a population of 1.4 million). Researchers allege that approximately 12 percent of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina are willing to adhere to Wahhabism. 

The Balkan experience shows that radical Islamists in local wars do not limit themselves to sabotage and terrorist operations, including counter-insurgency operations against the civilian population. During subsequent stages, they will be reinforced by their inclusion in government agencies and their future transformation into a political force within the ‘territory of implementation’.