Russia’s Counterinsurgency in North Caucasus: Performance and Consequences

Authored by Dr. Ariel Cohen.

Russia's Counterinsurgency in ... Cover Image

 

Brief Synopsis

 

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The North Caucasus region has been a source of instability for the past several centuries. Most recently, Chechen aspirations to achieve full independence after the break-up of the Soviet Union led to two disastrous wars. While the active phase of the Chechen conflict ended in 2000 – more than a decade ago—the underlying social, economic, and political issues of the region remain. A low-level insurgency continues to persist in the North Caucasus region, with occasional terrorist attacks in the Russian heartland. There are few reasons to expect any substantial improvement in the situation for years to come. Chechnya functions as a de facto independent entity; Islamist influence in Dagestan is growing, terror attacks continue, and the rest of the North Caucasus requires massive presence of Russian security services to keep the situation under control. Continue reading

Ukraine turmoil LIVE UPDATES

 

Published time: February 18, 2014 15:03 Edited time: April 13, 2014 13:37

Anti-Maidan protesters burn tires as they prepare for battle with Ukrainian special forces on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatoliy Stepanov)

Anti-Maidan protesters burn tires as they prepare for battle with Ukrainian special forces on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 13, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatoliy Stepanov)

Ukrainian coup-imposed authorities have their hands full with various problems. The country’s eastern regions remain in turmoil, with protesters demanding autonomy from the capital, and economic perils are aggravated by an imminent gas debt crisis.

Sunday, April 13

17:45 GMT:

A special operation against protesters in Donetsk region may start as soon as tonight, acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentin Nalivaichenko has said on “1+1” local channel. The “full-scale operation” will involve “serious engagement of military forces, anti-terrorist forces and law enforcement of Ukraine

17:33 GMT:

The pro-federalization protesters have taken over the city council in the town of Makeevka in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. Continue reading

US intelligence under fire over Ukraine

Intelligence official calls reports ‘highly inaccurate’

Author: By John Crawley CNN

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Published On: Mar 05 2014 09:38:19 PM EST Updated On: Mar 05 2014 10:25:05 PM EST

REUTERS/Mikhail Maslovsky   WASHINGTON (CNN) –

The nation’s top intelligence office denies suggestions the United States was caught off guard by Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, calling reports to that effect “highly inaccurate.”

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said in a statement Wednesday that the intelligence community has “frequently warned of worrisome trends with respect to Russia’s foreign policy” since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency in 2012.

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Russia in the North Caucasus: what’s happened and what is next

21 January 2014 – 11:05am
By Vestnik Kavkaza

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The problem of the North Caucasus’s image in Russia and the world is one of main topics for discussions on inter-ethnic relations and other problems of Russia.
Alexei Pilko, Director General of the Eurasian Communicational Center, thinks that “the image of the North Caucasus, evaluation and interpretation of events which are happening in the North Caucasus play a huge role in Russia’s image in the world. The position of foreign, especially Western mass media, toward events in the North Caucasus is a targeted information campaign on the destruction of a positive image of the region. It is targeted media work against the efforts which Russia undertakes to develop the North Caucasus. Any events which happen there have a huge multiplicative effect. Continue reading

Sharing Some History With Boston

Viceroyalty of the Caucasus עברית: מלכות המשנה...

Viceroyalty of the Caucasus עברית: מלכות המשנה של הקווקז (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

April 26, 2013: The April 15th terrorist in the United States (Boston) has made the world more aware of Russia’s terrorism problem in the Caucasus. The two Boston terrorists (the Tsarnaev brothers) were Chechens from Dagestan. Russia had alerted the American FBI and CIA about the elder brother in 2011. Russia had no hard evidence but their intelligence had picked up some data on the elder Tsarnaev brother’s interest in Islamic radicalism. In the United States the FBI and CIA are being grilled over why this vague tip did not result in the April 15 attack being prevented. One defense that will probably be heard (more likely from the CIA, which has long monitored the Caucasus) is that there are a lot Islamic radical Chechens these days, but few of them proceed to become Islamic terrorists and fewer still attempt to make attacks outside Russia. That has given Russia a lot of problems in the last two decades.

Despite this formidable terrorist threat, the security forces (local and national police plus specialized counter-terror forces from the police and military) have managed to reduce the terrorism in the Caucasus but not eliminate it.

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Syrian Kurds Play the Russia Card in Pursuit of Autonomy

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 10

By: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

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(Source: Kurdistan National AssemblySyria)

The ongoing political and security crisis in Syria has provided unexpected opportunities for Syria’s Kurdish community to initiate diplomatic discussions with Russia, China and Iran in its pursuit of regional autonomy, a near impossibility under the Assad regime before the outbreak of political violence as part of last year’s “Arab Spring.”

The Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK – Kurdistan Workers Party) and its Syrian affiliate, the Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat (PYD – Democratic Union Party), Russia, Iran and China are opposed to  outside intervention by the Western states or Turkey and prefer to find alternatives This has resulted in the reshaping of relations in the region.

In the past, Russia has utilized the PKK as a lever against Turkey to deter possible Turkish support for Chechen insurgents. [1] After 2008, Russia emerged as Turkey’s largest trading partner and relations improved, but now Turkey and Russia have differences over Syria. [2] For Russia, Syria is a long-term ally in the Middle-East and the naval supply station in the Syrian port of Tartus is of strategic value (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 19). This has caused friction in Russia’s relations with Turkey, which has abandoned its ties to Syria and now supports the removal of the Assad-government while opposing any role for the PKK and the PYD in a post-Assad Syria.

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Conundrum In The Caucasus

Administrative map of Caucasus in USSR, 1957-1991

Image via Wikipedia

March 9, 2012: In Russia the Islamic terrorism problem in the North Caucasus (Dagestan. Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia) continues to fester. Widespread government corruption and unemployment provides a growing supply of new recruits. It all began in Chechnya back in the 1990s, and has spread to neighboring areas as it became obvious that the corruption did not disappear when the old Soviet government did in 1991. The Soviets had allowed locals to run things, pretty much any way they wanted, as long as they kept thing quiet and did not do anything that embarrassed the central government. With Soviets gone, people, especially the young, expected change. It didn’t come.

The Chechens tried, throughout the 1990s, to maintain their self-declared independence from Russia. But the Chechens could not govern themselves, and the place became a hideout for numerous criminal gangs. These guys started a kidnapping, robbery and extortion crime wave all over southern Russia. In 1999, Russia invaded again, to reassert its authority and halt the crime wave. Several years of bloody fighting followed, until a majority of the population agreed to shut down the gangsters. Ever since, Chechnya has been at peace, at least by local standards. But many of the criminals and Islamic militants fled to neighboring “republics” (as the semi-autonomous ethnic enclaves in Russia are called), mainly Ingushetia to the west, and Dagestan to the east.

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