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SERWAN ZANGANA: Conclusions and Lessons From The Terror Attack in Russia

The horrific terror attack in Moscow on March 22, was the result of a terrorist group’s act, which disregarded every of human life and character. Apparently, the arrested suspects were tortured by the Russian forces during the investigation. Thus, Russia did not distinguish itself from the terrorist group.

According to multiple reports from the New York Post, DW News, and Sky News, the suspects had visible bruises and marks on their faces. One suspect was electrocuted on a sensitive part of his body and another suspect had a patch on his ear as allegedly his ear was cut off.

Indeed I was not flabbergasted by these news reports. In the1980s, Russia, then the Soviet Union, was training the former Iraqi regime’s Baathist Party, the only ruling Party at that time, to use different techniques of torture. In fact, Saddam Hussein’s political oppositions were being thrown in jails, electrocuted and beaten. In the 1990s, Saddam Hussein ordered that the Iraqi deserters from the military have their ears cut off. This order was indeed executed on many Iraqis.

The Soviet Union was a torture school for the members of Saddam Hussein’s forces and the main supporter and weapon supplier to his regime. But to be noted that despite the relation between the Soviet Union and Iraq, Communism was banned in Iraq.

However, the leaders and the majority of the opposition members, including the Iraqi Communist Party were in exile as only few members operated secretly inside Iraq. Indeed operating inside the country was much riskier due to the high probability of being arrested by the regime, and hence, many ended up in the inhumane Iraqi jails.

In 1991, after the Kurdish uprising in Iraqi Kurdistan, one member of the Iraqi Communist Party stated that while they were struggling and operating against the regime, some of their fellows were being tortured by Saddam’s security forces trained by the Russians!

Today’s Russia’s methods of operation are traced back to the Soviet Union’s “iron hammer” in running the regime and dealing with the opposition. In fact, President Vladimir Putin is nourishing the same old KGB techniques now. Obviously, Russia has regained much of its military and political weight after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now, it is a power of considerable standing on the world’s stage.

Furthermore, throughout its history, the Baathist Party in Iraq has raided the political oppositions and executed many political figures. And after Saddam became the president of Iraq in 1979, he continued the bloody practices of that era. Evidently, the Communism icon Karl Marx’s slogan “Workers of the world unite” and the perception that Russian Communist were being the leader of the strugglers was only DELUSION.

The Moscow terror attack reveals, first, the capability of the Islamic State to conduct its operations, second, the vulnerability of Russia, and third, (by zooming on the tortured suspects), it can be seen as an obvious Russian message to the world that the human Rights and the United Nation Convention against torture will continue to be disregarded.

The worry is not about the investigation and the punishment of the terrorists per se, it is the concern about the technique which embraces the torture. Obviously, the death of the Russian prominent political opposition, Alexei Navalny in February, in prison while he was serving 30 years sentence is another human rights concern as well. And it can be said with confidence that the accusing finger points at Putin.

With such situations happening regularly around the world, we must remember that living under the American justice system, despite some imperfections, is a great blessing that should never be taken for granted.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.

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