Chechnya: A War That Can’t Be Essay, Research Paper
Chechnya: A War that can t be won.
History of the independent Chechnya continues on as a bloodsheding conflict that just can t seem to end. In the summer of 1991, the world learned that some loosely defined part of the Checheno-Ingushetia had seceded from RSFSR and the USSR and proclaimed itself an independent state called the Chechen Republic. During the next ten following years the situation in the republic remained complicated and tense. A 1994-96 war between Russia and Chechnya proved to be devastating to the republics social, economical and political structure. Though enjoying it s de facto independence the republic was overrun by warlords and their gangs that divided the land in between themselves and fought with each other for power. A kidnapping trade proved to be rewarding as many members of humanitarian organizations and other foreigners were abducted for ransom. The government of Aslan Maskhadov, the newly elected president, was either involved in the criminal activities itself or was unable to do anything about it.
In August 1999, Chechen fighters led by prominent field commanders Shamil Basayev and Jordanian born Khattab crossed into neighboring Dagestan in order to create an a Islamic state. Repelled by the Russian Armed Forces, the rebels retreated back in to Chechnya and waited for a Russian invasion that soon followed. The Russian Federation sent in troops in order to punish the Chechens for a daring assault and also to destroy the bases of international terrorists that turned the territory of Chechnya into safe haven for criminals and kidnappers. The campaign was labeled as counter terrorist operation and had the support of the majority of the Russian public. It was also a political move by a newly appointed president, Vladimir Putin, to gain support for his presidential campaign. With it s military superiority, Russia captured most of Chechnya again, setting up pro-Moscow governments in local towns and villages, but the rebels continue their fight with low intensity battles and elimination s of Chechen officials that are loyal to Moscow s regime.
Today, the bandits are using the tactics of subversion warfare, laying ambushes on the routes of military convoys and using mines and other explosive devices. The rebels have a wealth of experience in such operations, because foreign specialists and instructors have trained them. There were two training camps in Chechnya: in Serzhen Yurt and Urus Martan. Fifteen tons of explosives were prepared there, and five tons of this amount was used. Chechnya is not just a hot spot on the map of Russia; it is an epicenter of international terrorism and Islamic extremism in the country. It should be remembered that the Chechen war is financed from different including foreign, sources, which supply the rebels not only with money, but also with weapons and mercenaries. The money is used for recruiting new members, for infiltrating power structures, and for a detailed study and analysis of the military-geographic, socio-political and economical situations in the CIS countries with the purpose of planning subsequent expansion, including military. The terrorists are also using internal resources for maintaining their fighting ability. Known foreign help comes from the countries of Middle East, Baltic States, Poland and Britain. In current winter conditions, despite the snow, the passes are still negotiable and the fighters continue attempts to reach the Russo-Georgian border across the Chechen stretch. The introduction of the visa regime in relations with Georgia is helping stabilize the situation on the border of the two countries.
A peaceful life in war-torn republic cannot be full filled without the assistance of local residents, who have grown sick of endless wars. The society of Chechnya is split into two camps, clans that want peace are mostly in the Beloi and Alleroi villages, which prohibited it s young people to join the illegal armed formations, and mercenaries and local so called warlords to whom war means profit. For example, if not for the assistance of local well-respected elders, the federal forces would have not entered Achkhoi-Martan, northern territories and Chechnyan s second biggest city Gudermes, without a single shot .
In 1996, the Chechen rebels answered Russian attempts to sideline them in the mountains with blitz raids against cities in neighboring Dagestan and Russia itself. The guerrillas later managed to take back parts of their capital Grozny, and Moscow, realizing the high political and economic costs of holding on to Chechnya, simply withdrew. To avoid the repeat of those unfortunate 1996 events, federal forces will have to guard against Chechen movement through the republic a feat impossible without repressive actions against all civilian population. Russian soldiers constantly detain Chechen men of fighting age into so called filtration camps , which are said to be known for terrible living conditions, torture and executions during 1994-96 war. Moscow plans to permanently station 15,000 troops in the republic after the war ends. Currently Russia has about 90,000 troops in the region, according to Kremlin s spokesman, Sergei Yastrezembski.
Pursuing the Chechen fighters in the mountains could prove equally difficult. The terrain makes the use of artillery and armor almost impossible, removing the main advantage Russia has against a skilled guerrilla force of lightly armed rebels. If the Russian military wants to engage the rebels on foot, it will have to commit a substantial number of personnel and be prepared to tolerate high casualties. In the 19th century, Russian campaign against contemporary North Caucasus rebel Imam Shamil some 500,000 troops were needed to put down a twenty-year revolt. The technological advance the Russians enjoy over the rebels today removes the need for so many troops, but some of the advantages will be lost in the mountains. In an indication that the military may send a force into the mountains, Moscow is sending a 3,500 paratrooper elite regiment trained in close combat and survival skills to the mountainous region. Also brand new sophisticated assault helicopters KA-50 Black Shark , and KA-52 Alligator are to see action against the fighters, but as NATO learned in Kosovo, even the most sophisticated technologies are relatively impotent against a skilled enemy.
Whether Moscow likes or not, only a political agreement between the two sides will bring this current conflict to an end. Russia argues that all the field commanders must surrender and face the charges of mutiny, participation in illegal armed formations and war crimes against their people before it will begin any kind of negotiations. But ironically, they say that there is no one in Chechnya that hasn t covered themselves in blood whom they can hold talks with and with that decision Moscow is in for a long period of low intensity fighting. With the casualties rising every day, it s a matter of time before the public opinion and the mothers of dead servicemen will force the current leadership of the Kremlin to come to a some kind of political agreement with the rebellious republics leadership.