Thursday, October 26, 2006

No Prospect of Military Victory in Chechnya

In EDM, Andrei Smirnov writes that Russian generals are losing hope for a military victory in Chechnya. So bold have the anti-government forces become that they even set up checkpoints on the highways to search for officers from the local law-enforcement agencies. Lidiya Yusupova, a Memorial human rights worker who was nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and who has been threatened in the same way that Anna Politkovskaya was, has commented that “Russian checkpoints are fired on, [and] armed attacks and disappearances happen more and more often.” Smirnov considers that Dokku Umarov has been successful in concentrating guerrilla units under his centralized command. Excerpt:
While the Caucasian insurgency is becoming better organized, cooperation among security bodies in the North Caucasus is still in poor shape. The ANN source gave the impression that the Russian military is worried about recent clashes between Chechen and Ingush policemen, especially about deepening tension between Alu Alkhanov and Ramzan Kadyrov, the two top leaders of the pro-Russian Chechen forces. The source mentioned an October 5 shootout between their bodyguards that took place during the opening ceremony for the Chechen civil airport in Grozny.

“Reality demonstrates that the activity of the rebels does not depend on any personalities but on the current situation and capabilities of the field commanders,” Khasan, a Chechen human rights activist, told Kavkazky Uzel. “Negotiations are needed to end the conflict.”

It seems that the Russian generals have also begun to realize this fact, albeit very slowly. Hopes that the death of Basaev would be the end of the Caucasian insurgency are disappearing, but it appears that Russian officials are clueless about what to do next. Moreover, none of the generals dares to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that they have no way to end the war militarily and that dialogue with the enemy is really needed.

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