The Times of London recently published an apologetic story about some “Chechen battalion” that it likes. This special military unit is fighting on the side of Ukrainian troops near the port of Mariupol on the Azov Sea and is headed by a bearded Chechen with a huge dagger inscribed with the words “Death to Separatists.” The Times describes this seemingly bloodthirsty gentleman in a positive light.
An enemy of my enemy
There is one good reason for that. The author of the story, British journalist Marc Bennets, and the commander of the “anti-separatist” battalion, named Muslim Cheberloevsky, have one common enemy. This enemy is the Russian president Putin. In the story, Cheberloyevsky explains to Bennets that he kills the Ukrainian “separatists” (i.e. mostly the Russian-speaking people of Donbass, who refused to live under the crudely nationalist regime of Petro Poroshenko), because he sees them as allies of president Putin. And “Putin is our enemy too,” explains Cheberloyevsky his affinity to Ukrainian nationalists, who normally look down on anyone who was born in Russia. Good enough for The Times. On its pages, Mr. Cheberloyevsky becomes a “freedom fighter.”
The fact that Mr. Cheberloyevsky holds Islamist views and that in an interview to Ukrainian TV he had admitted having trained with the so called Islamic State (formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria – this information does not deter The Times in the least. So what, if this useful Islamist “waged jihad” in Syria? Obviously, the UK’s mainstream media shares the establishment’s opinion that the West has a bigger fish to fry with the likes of Mr. Cheberloyevsky – fighting Putin. The perspective of spoiling the day for “Vlad the Bad” is enough for The Times to forget how the anti-Putin and anti-Assad jihadists, having received Western aid, committed terrorist acts in Western Europe and the US. For example, the Boston marathon bombing in 2013 or the Bataclan massacre in Paris in 2015 were both masterminded by Islamist recipients of Western aid for “freedom fighters,” who had radicalized themselves in the same places as Mr. Cheberloyevsky.
Weaponizing Islamism – at your own peril
George Galloway, a former British MP and a prominent critic of British establishment, cites The Times’ story in order to prove his point: “It was always thus.” For several decades,