Russia and Israel have signed an agreement to cooperate in fighting terrorism. Israel probably has the largest number of intelligence agents within Islamic terrorist groups. This is because many Israelis speak Arabic, and many are descended from families that lived for over a thousand years among Arabs, and are indistinguishable from them in appearance. Russia also has a network of contacts and agents in Arab countries, a remnant of the Cold War. Combining their resources, the two nations will gain some new insights on Islamic terrorist groups.
The European Union (EU) is in hot water with Russia because of a remark by the EU foreign minister ("We would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened."), which implied that the North Ossetia massacre was Russias fault. The EU has been apologizing for the remark, but most Russians still believe that the EU is out of touch with reality. The EU's position has always been that it wants a political solution in the region and a Chechen leadership that is acceptable to the Chechen people, rather than one supported by Russia. What the Europeans, ignore, or fail to understand, is that the Chechens tried, and failed, to govern themselves between 1993 and 1999. The result was a massive Chechen crime wave in the Caucasus and a Islamic radical movement, formed in Chechnya, trying to conquer neighboring parts of Russia in 1999. Many Chechens were found, and killed or captured in Afghanistan in 2001. They were in Afghanistan to get al Qaeda training. The Chechens have always concentrated on their fight with the Russians, however, and not international terrorism.
The Chechen Islamic radicals, in particular, will not negotiate with the Russians. Nor will many of the criminal gangs. The EU has not been able to come up with a viable solution to the Chechen situation, but instead continues to criticize Russia for not making the violence go away. The EU ignores the fact that Chechnya has been a problem for centuries, and that the current situation is not unique in the region.
The school in North Ossetia was selected for the raid several months ago, when it was noticed that the school was undergoing renovation. Since Chechen criminal gangs have their fingers in everything, it was easy to arrange for a construction company to allow the terrorists to bury guns and explosives under the floorboards of the gymnasium. Better intelligence work on the part of the Russians might have discovered this, but the Chechen gangs are very close knit, and difficult to penetrate. This is why the Chechens have been so successful in the organized crime area. Russia has now said it will greatly increase its intelligence efforts. Actually, during the Soviet period, the KGB had much better information on the Chechen gangs, which the secret police often used for various jobs. Most of that cooperation has disappeared since the fall of the Soviet Union. The KGB is now the FSB, and is going to get back into bed with the criminal gangs. Thats because the people who are closest to the Chechen gangs are some of the Russian gangs that compete with them. This is all going to get very interesting.