Russia: January 20, 2005

Archives

After five years of fighting, the government believes that it has reduced the number of rebel leaders in Chechnya from 200 to 10. At the same time, the number of foreign Islamic radicals operating in Chechnya has been reduced from over 2,500 to about sixty. There were about 200 of these foreign fighters in operation last Summer, but greater use of Spetsnaz commandoes, and Chechen police, caused more of the rebel camps to be found and destroyed. The foreign Islamic radicals were the trigger for the Russian 1999 invasion in the first place. The Islamic radicals had been moving across the border into other parts of Russia and beginning their "Islamic conquest" of the Caucasus. This was more than Russia was willing to tolerate from an autonomous Chechnya. Many of the Islamic radicals thought the Caucasus would be "another Afghanistan." But these radicals, most of the them Arabs, failed to remember that nearly all the fighting in Afghanistan was by Afghans. Arabs got very little combat experience in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Russians won nearly all the battles. During the 1980s war, some two million Afghans were killed, and 15,000 Russians. The Russians finally left because they decided fighting in Afghanistan simply wasn't worth it. This is not quite the same as a military defeat. In the Caucasus, the Russians are fighting on their own turf. They are not leaving, and they have beaten Chechen rebels many times in the past. They are doing it again. Most of the foreign fighters still operating in Chechnya are Turks. The Arabs have nearly all been killed, or got discouraged and went home. The Russian army of the early 21st century is more professional, and less dependent on conscripts, than it was two decades ago in Afghanistan. Chechnya has become one large, brutal,  training exercise for Russias growing commando force.

 

Article Archive

Russia: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close