The Duck of Minerva

Seek and Destroy

28 June 2006

Russian President Vladamir Putin announced today that he has ordered the Russian Federal Security Service to “find and destroy” those responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Russian diplomats in Iraq (for background on the story, see here).

The announcement by Putin was followed by a statement passed in the lower house of the Russian parliament criticizing the “occupying countries” (i.e. the United States), noting that they have lost control of Iraq.

I haven’t been able to find out much more at this point (so far, the Guardian seems to have the best coverage), but it will be interesting to see a) the response from the US, and b) if Russia actually does anything on its own, such as introducing special units into Iraq to hunt down the kidnappers. It is unclear whether Russia already has some type of special forces on the ground, although Andrei Krivtsov, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, noted that there are “people responsible for security at the embassy” in Baghdad. Russia previosly sent intelligence agents to track down and kill a Chechen rebel leader who was taking up refuge in Qatar in 2004, so such an operation wouldn’t be beyond them. However, the prospect of dealing with the possible diplomatic and political repercussions from the United States would seem a bit more daunting than from Qatar.

I’ll post any updates later in the day.

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