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Thread: The North Caucasus: Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia

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    Default The North Caucasus: Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia

    Back in 1998 - 1999 I was the manager of a Marine Corps project supporting the Corps' Urban Warrior program - our goal was to gain the perspective of those who had planned and conducted an urban insurgency against a modern conventional force. Ms. Marie Bennigsen Broxup conducted interviews of 20 Chechen commanders and staff officers in Chechnya. We also conducted an 8-hour seminar with another commander who was visiting the U.S. in 1999.

    Three articles / papers were produced based on the interviews:

    View From the Wolves' Den - The Chechens and Urban Operations by Dave Dilegge

    David Slays Goliath: A Chechen Perspective on the War in Chechnya (1994 - 1996) by LtCol Tim Jackson, USMC

    General-Major Tourpal-Ali Kaimov - On Urban Warfare in Chechnya by Dave Dilegge

    That said, I was looking through my old files and ran across the original raw / unedited interviews and thought they might be of some interest and maybe useful. Here is the first, will post the others soonest...

    Interview: Aslan Maskhadov - Wikipedia: Leader of the separatist movement in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya. He was credited by many with the Chechen victory in the First Chechen War, which allowed for the de facto establishment of an independent Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Maskhadov became President of the nation in January of 1997 with heavy backup from Moscow. Following the start of the Second Chechen War, he returned to leading the guerrilla movement against the Russian army. He was reported killed in a village in southern Chechnya in March 2005.
    Last edited by SWJED; 05-13-2006 at 12:46 AM.

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    Default Interviews...

    Including the Kaimov article above I have located interviews of 16 Chechens - here are the remainder:

    Suleiman Bustaev - Commander, took part in the operations against Gudermes (December 1995), Pervomaiskaia, and Grozny.

    Dalkhan Khozhev - Chief of Ahmad Zakaev’s HQ in the South-West.

    Ahmad Zakaev - South-West Commander.

    Aydemir Abalaev - Commander of the Zandak Regiment.

    Ali Demaev - Head of communications for the South-East Commander-in-Chief.

    Ruslan Alikhadzhiev - Commander Southern Front.

    Ali Atgireyev - Commanded units in all battles of Grozny, took part in the Pervomaiskaia expedition, was commander of the Shelkovski raion during the 1995-6 cease-fire, previously took part in military operations in Abkhazia.

    Apty Batalov - Commander of Naursky and Nadtechny raions.

    Husein Iskhanov - Aslan Maskhadov’s ADC.

    Hamid Iangulbaev - Village Commander.

    Ilyas Akhmadov - ADC to Shamil Basaev and later to Aslan Maskhadov.

    Magomed Khambiev - Commander of the Chechen National Guard.

    Payzullah Nutsulkhanov - Aslan Maskhadov’s Chief of Staff, in charge of logistics.

    Said Iskhanov - Intelligence on Grozny.

    Said Iskhanov - Part II - on weapons employment.
    Last edited by SWJED; 05-12-2006 at 11:31 PM.

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    It was then that we decided, against all military logic, to counter-attack. It was a first in terms of military tactics and we forced tank units to retreat. How was it done? Our soldiers did not know how to dig trenches, they considered it humiliating, but there was no choice – the houses were too small and fragile, they could not withstand a tank attack. So we made a line between the Sunzha and Minutka, dug trenches, and with approximately 40 / 50 men facing the tanks we advanced meter by meter, digging more trenches as we crawled forward until we reached the tanks and burned them. We pressed them until the tanks retreated, then we build more trenches and advanced further. It was highly unconventional trench warfare!
    That's from Mashkadov's interview! It reminds me of how the original "sappers" used trenches and tunnels to undermine castles and forts in siege warfare. Sounds like the tank crews saw their tracks as mini-forts.

    Thanks, Dave!

    Best
    Tom

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    Default More on Chechnya

    On the Chechnya Page in the SWJ Reference Library. Includes articles by two old friends who did a lot of great work in support of our urban operations efforts - Les Grau and Tim Thomas.

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    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-17-2010 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Updated links and removed dead ones - several were no longer available.

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    Both the Jamestown Foundation and CSIS have held events on the North Caucasus situation over the past several weeks. Each has reports on their websites.

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    Russian Analytical Digest, 5 Jun 07: The North Caucasus
    ANALYSIS
    The Russian-Chechen Conflict and the Putin-Kadyrov Connection
    Mark Kramer, Cambridge, MA

    ANALYSIS
    Separatism and Islamic Extremism in the Ethnic Republics of the North Caucasus
    Akhmet A. Yarlykapov, Moscow

    MAPS
    Administrative Map of the North Caucasus
    Physical Map of the North Caucasus

    DOCUMENTATION
    Table: The Southern Federal District. An Overview of Main Statistical Indicators
    Timeline: Terror Related Incidents in the North Caucasus Since the Death of Shamil Basayev

    OPINION SURVEY
    Why Did War Begin Again in Chechnya in 1999? (Levada)
    Chechnya After the Death of Basayev (VTsIOM)
    Ramzan Kadyrov, President of Chechnya (FOM)
    Russian-Georgian Relations (VTsIOM)
    Interethnic Tensions November 2005 – April 2007 (Levada)
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-17-2010 at 09:35 PM. Reason: Updated link.

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    The Economist, 2 Jun 07: The Warlord and the Spook
    ...War with Russia has deformed Chechnya. But perhaps more than anything else in Russia's post-Soviet history, the forgotten Chechen wars have shaped the angry and authoritarian country Russia has become.

    Mr Putin made Mr Kadyrov president; but Chechnya helped to make Mr Putin himself president of Russia. Were it not for the air of emergency engendered by the second Chechen war, which began when Mr Putin was prime minister, the lightening rise of this obscure ex-KGB officer would have met more resistance. The war, and the string of mysterious apartment bombings that preceded it, brought the FSB (the renamed security service that Mr Putin briefly led) back to the centre of Russian politics. And it has been the cause, or the pretext, for many of the hard-line policies of the Putin presidency.

    Russia's gathering suspicion towards the West can be traced in part to the autumn of 2004, and Beslan....
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-17-2010 at 09:37 PM. Reason: Updated link.

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    CSRC, 22 Aug 07: North Caucasus: Problems of Helicopter Support in Mountains
    Key Points

    * The Mi-8 helicopter accident on 27 April 2007 in south Chechnya emphasised the appalling state of Russian military helicopter aviation.

    * By 1999 the average age of Mi-8 helicopters was 15-20 years old and that of Mi-24 helicopters was 20 years or older. On average 70% of the helicopter park required repair with one third needing major components.

    * Since then, 13 years of conflict have passed without replacement helicopters and new modern designs, even before the first conflict (1994-1996) almost 100% of the attack Mi-24 helicopters were worn out. Transport helicopters have been worked to the limit.

    * At least 10 of the 18 helicopter crashes in Chechnya in the last five years can be attributed to pilot error or equipment malfunction; 205 servicemen died.

    * MOD chose to buy Mi-28 (Night Hunter) on grounds of cost in preference to Ka-50 (Black Shark) and Ka-52 (Alligator) regarded by military experts as better aircraft. All three will now be bought in small numbers until 2015.

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    Default Dagestan

    A two-part piece from the Jamestown Foundation's Chechnya Weekly:

    The Dagestani Jamaat (Part 1)
    The Dagestani Jamaat "Shariat" is the direct successor of the Dagestani Jamaat supposedly destroyed on the orders of Vladimir Putin in August and September of 1999. As such, it is one more example of how inefficient a military response is for suppressing an ideological opponent. It is possible to destroy bases, to destroy active participants, but it is quite impossible to destroy an underlying ideology using tanks and planes. Since the large-scale military operation carried out in Dagestan in August-September 1999, Salafi teachings have spread throughout the whole of Dagestan, especially enjoying popularity among the youth of the republic. Thus, Salafi ideology has become a form of protest against Russian policies in Dagestan. It is worth noting that while not all the members of the Dagestani Jamaat are dedicated Salafi adherents, all of them stand united in the anti-Russian struggle, making this ideology a unifying force. There are also small groups in the armed resistance movement in Dagestan that are not controlled by the Jamaat, but they still identify themselves with the resistance movement forces.....
    The Dagestani Jamaat (Part 2)
    ....Jamaat structures are uniform across the North Caucasus and do not vary due to ethnic or regional differences, perhaps in rare exceptions. For nearly eight years, one of the best-known leaders of the Dagestani Jamaat was Rappani Khalilov, a native of the city of Buinaksk and an ethnic Laks. He was replaced as commander of the Dagestani sector of the Caucasus Front by Amir Abdul-Madzhid, who also began as a member of the “Shariat” Jamaat at the start of the second military campaign in Chechnya in 1999 and was one of Khalilov’s closest associates. The “Shariat” Jamaat has units across the entire republic. The republic is divided into zones, such as the Buinaksk, Gubden, Makhachkala, Kizliar, Khasavyurt, Botlikh and others. Amir Abdul-Madzhid himself and others in the sector’s command are members of the Military Council of the Shura under Dokka Umarov and, since Umarov’s recent proclamation of a “Caucasian Emirate,” Amir Abdul Madzhid has been made “Vali of the Vilyat of Dagestan”–that is, the resistance’s de facto ruler in Dagestan. All of the vilayets are united under the leadership of Dokka Umarov, who is considered the personal ruler of this “virtual” emirate, but in fact, each vali is autonomous not by virtue of the formation of an emirate, but strictly due to the absence of authority of Dokka Umarov among those fighting under the flag of the resistance movement......

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    Insofar as there's a "native" form of Islam in the Caucasus, what is it? Sunni? Shiite? Salafi? Sufi? Some other variety?

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    Channel One "Uncovers" a Turkish-U.S. Plot in the Caucasus, The Jamestown Foundation: Chechnya Weekly, April 24, 2008.

    Russian state television’s Channel One on the evening of April 22 broadcast a putative documentary film made by Kremlin correspondent Anton Vernitsky called “Plan 'Kavkaz'” (The Caucasus Plan). The film purports to show how Turkey, the United States and Great Britain attempted at the start of the 1990s to divide Russia into small parts not controlled by the federal center. The film featured Berkan Merrikh Yashar, born Abubakar—a Turkish-born ethnic Chechen who claims to be a journalist who once worked for Radio Liberty in Munich and a politician with close connections to the Turkish leadership.
    Yashar states in the film that at the start of the 1990s he prepared a political platform for separating Chechnya from Russia and that there were several sources financing this project. He claims, among other things, that passports for the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria were printed in France while "many tons" of Ichkerian banknotes, which resembled U.S. currency, were printed in Germany. Yashar says that Western special services did not really care about the independence of the peoples of Caucasus but were acting only in the interest of their "personal profit." He also claims that Western special services tried to convince Muslim muftis in Russia—not only in Chechnya, but also in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan—to break away from Russia because of religious differences. He also refers to the self-exiled Russian tycoon and his former partner, the late Badri Patarkastishvili, stating that they were involved in questionable deals in the Caucasus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penta View Post
    Insofar as there's a "native" form of Islam in the Caucasus, what is it? Sunni? Shiite? Salafi? Sufi? Some other variety?
    The Sufism of the Naqshbandi tariqa (or brotherhood).

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    The Jamestown Foundation's Chechnya Weekly, 21 Feb 08:

    Dagestan's Expanding Insurgency
    ....Now that Putin’s presidency is ending it is important for him to remind the public of his political achievements. During his February 4 trip to Botlikh, Putin talked a lot about the events of August 1999, especially about the Dagestani local militia's support for the Russian troops that fought the Basaev/Khattab-led insurgents. “There were many wounded and killed among the local population,” Putin said at the meeting in Botlikh. “Please do not forget about these people and their families”.

    Apart from other aims, Putin’s visit to Botlikh was meant to highlight the success of his Caucasus policy and show that the residents of Dagestan support the federal government, just as they did in August 1999. Nevertheless, current events in Dagestan demonstrate the opposite: the area of hostilities in the republic is expanding. War reports from the region mention more and more districts of Dagestan that have never before appeared in the news as scenes of battles between the rebels and police forces.....

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    Default Vilyat? Vilayet? In Dagestan ?

    I generally like Jamestown stuff but this struck me as really weird.

    Isn't a "Vilyat" a corruption of an Ottoman Turk administrative division? When did the Ottomans rule Daghestan ? Golden Horde, sure. Persians, definitely. Why would Wahabbist neo-salafi loons use antique Turkish terminology when a good Wahabbist would see Ottoman sanjaks as corrupt former oppressors of "true Islam" ?

    Maybe I have missed something somewhere ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenpundit View Post
    I generally like Jamestown stuff but this struck me as really weird.

    Isn't a "Vilyat" a corruption of an Ottoman Turk administrative division? When did the Ottomans rule Daghestan ? Golden Horde, sure. Persians, definitely. Why would Wahabbist neo-salafi loons use antique Turkish terminology when a good Wahabbist would see Ottoman sanjaks as corrupt former oppressors of "true Islam" ?

    Maybe I have missed something somewhere ?
    It is a term that is used in many Central Asian states: Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - none of which were ever under Ottoman rule. In Dagestan, they can also be referred to as rayons, but wilayat is a common usage.

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    Default Ingushetia

    HRW, 25 Jun 08: Counterinsurgency, Rights Violations, and Rampant Impunity in Ingushetia
    The Chechnya armed conflict affected stability and the security of communities across the North Caucasus region of Russia, and continues to do so. In Ingushetia, the republic into which Chechnya’s conflict overflowed, the grave conflict dynamics of its larger neighbor have arisen. For the past four years Russia has been fighting several militant groups in Ingushetia, which have a loose agenda to unseat the Ingush government, evict federal security and military forces based in the region, and promote Islamic rule in the North Caucasus. Beginning in summer 2007, insurgents’ attacks on public officials, law enforcement and security personnel, and civilians rose sharply.

    Human Rights Watch condemns attacks on civilians and recognizes that the Russian government has a duty to pursue the perpetrators, prevent attacks, and bring those responsible to account. Attacks on civilians, public officials, and police and security forces are serious crimes. Russia, like any government, has a legitimate interest in investigating and prosecuting such crimes and an obligation to do so while respecting Russian and international human rights law. Regrettably, Russia is failing to respect or to adhere to these laws. Law enforcement and security forces involved in counterinsurgency have committed dozens of extrajudicial executions, summary and arbitrary detentions, and acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment....
    Complete 112 page report at the link.

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    NCW, 7 Aug 08: Rebels Move Closer to Seizing Control of Ingushetia
    .....According to guerrilla warfare theory, war has several stages. The first stage is when government forces try to destroy rebel squads in remote areas of a country, such as mountains or forests. Failing that, the war enters a second stage, in which the guerrillas initiate regular sabotage operations, coming closer to the main centers of the country (large settlements). If the rebels are successful and the security forces cannot disrupt them, the guerrillas begin offensive operations near or inside major populated areas. At the same time, the police and the army lock themselves inside their garrisons. The next stage—the collapse of the government— usually quickly follows.

    One can see the way that guerrilla warfare followed this pattern during the American campaign in Vietnam, the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the first Russian military campaign in Chechnya. It appears that the same scenario is now unfolding in Ingushetia. The Ingush police and Russian armed forces in the republic now care more about their own safety than about the general security situation in the republic. Zyazikov and his government are located in the capital Magas, a fortress city heavily guarded by Russian military units. Kidnappings, a problem in Ingushetia that human rights activists like to talk about, have almost stopped now, a fact allowing one to reach the paradoxical conclusion that the more police officers get killed by the rebels, the fewer civilians are detained or kidnapped in the republic.

    If we do not soon see any radical changes in Russian policy towards Ingushetia, the republic may in the near future become the first real province of the insurgents’ Caucasian Emirate.

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    Window on Eurasia, 2 Sep 08: Russia Losing Ingushetia Before Absorbing South Ossetia
    The death of Magomed Yevloyev, which most Ingush and rights groups blame on the government of Murat Zyazikov, his officials say was an accident, and a few writers suggest was a provocation by the West, has radicalized opinion there to the point that, in the words of one analyst, Russia risks “losing Ingushetia before it can absorb South Ossetia.” Yevloyev, the owner of the independent news portal Ingushetiya.ru which Zyazikov has long sought to shut down and a major opposition figure in his own right, died of bullet wounds to the head while in the custody of Zyazikov’s militia on Sunday. And his funeral yesterday grew into a mass protest, leading to a meeting today that the authorities dispersed.....

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