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Re: The actual military situation in Northern Chechnya

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  • Norbert Strade
    Sascha, This is very interesting, and your description of the Northern Chechnya theatre is informative, but there is no possibility for the reader to know if
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2008
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      This is very interesting, and your description of the Northern Chechnya
      theatre is informative, but there is no possibility for the reader to
      know if the analysis of Chechen military activity and tactics is based
      on facts, because you don't mention any specified sources for the
      various claims that one could check for credibility.
      Btw., I have serious doubts that any authentic Resistance member would
      discuss the military tactics and the content of strategy meetings in
      public, in the middle of an ongoing conflict. Or in case this is true,
      if he would be able to do it more than once.


      sascha_hero wrote:
      > 31 may 2008
      > Over the past months many people asked me about the actual military
      > situation in Northern Chechnya and if the chechen rebels are still
      > active in this region??? This question is understandable as for the
      > past months almost nothing has been heard about rebel attacks in the
      > region north of the Terek.
      > Well,over the past months and weeks the rebels have succeeded in
      > establishing control across almost entire Southern Chechnya (except of
      > dozens of villages,in which still russian bases are located) and the
      > foothill regions south of the line Urus-Martan-Shali,which are all in
      > all circa 35% of the whole chechen territory.Also in the central part
      > of Chechnya,in such regions like
      > Grozny,Argun,Gudermes,Urus-Martan,Schali and Kurchaloy the rebels have
      > recently stepped up their attacks,as well as in the remaining mountain
      > villages,which are still under russian control and more or less under
      > rebel siege.
      > Undoubtely the rebel´s next step will be not to hold these 35% of open
      > nature,but the conquering of the mountain villages,foothill villages
      > and maybe also attacks in the cities in central Chechnya between the
      > Terek and the foothills.
      > However the situation seems different in the northern part of the
      > Chechen Republic,in the two districts north of the Terek,Naursky and
      > Shelkovsky.(This is the area north of the Terek,you can see it on
      > Google Earth).Over the past months,beginning with last summer, almost
      > nothing has been heard of rebel operations in this region.Nevertheless
      > we have to analyze the reasons.And the conclusion is following: The
      > rebel movement in the north is not dead,but reorganizing itself.
      > Let´s begin with the landscape there.90% of Northern Chechnya are open
      > steppes and fields.Especially the so-called "Nogay-steppe",which
      > covers circa 80% of the north,is a completely flat sand-steppe without
      > bigger settlements.There are only a handful of small villages there
      > with a tiny population.Adjacent to the Nogay-steppe we have open
      > fields,circa 10% of the northern territory.And then we have the
      > remaining 10%,a range of villages and thick forests on the northern
      > bank of the Terek-river.In the northeastern Shelkov district there are
      > also big swamps and marshes in the so-called Terek-delta,close to the
      > river.
      > In the far northern Nogay-steppe no war has taken place since
      > 1994.From the beginning the rebels saw no sense in fighting the
      > russian army with their heavy weaponry like airforce,artillery and
      > tanks in an open unpopulated steppe.The huge russian convoys moved
      > easily through the steppe,facing no chechen resistance,whose line of
      > defence began in the villages.In the first war between 1994-96 the
      > chechen troops offered only small resistance to the russian army in
      > the North.Also the guerilla-war was on a low level.Nevertheless the
      > rebels shocked the russian control in January 1996,when thousands of
      > rebels under command of Salman Raduyev moved through the open steppe
      > to storm the dagestani border town Kizlyar,where a large-scale hostage
      > taking took place and ended in the bloody "battle of Pervomayskoye".
      > (Wikipedia).Furthermore in the 1990´s the biggest part of Northern
      > Chechnya´s population were Terek-cossacks,ethnic russians loyal to the
      > russian state.This fact also hindered the rebels from conducting an
      > effective guerilla war.
      > After the first war not only the russian army left the North,also the
      > biggest part of the ethnic russians fled the region.This process
      > strengthened again with the beginning of the second war in 1999.Over
      > the past years almost the entire russian population left northern
      > Chechnya,together with other minorities like the
      > Avars,Armenians,Kumyks,Nogays etc... Today in 2008 95% of Northern
      > Chechnya´s population are chechens.
      > When the russian army invaded Chechnya again on October 1,1999,the
      > situation was different than in 1994.Already now many russian cossacks
      > had left the region,furthermore this time the chechen troops were
      > better equipped and more organized than in 1994.Again the russian
      > columns moved easily through the large open steppe,but this time they
      > met fierce chechen resistance,when they entered the old
      > cossack-villages on the edge of the steppe.The russian propaganda told
      > the world,that in five days the whole north was taken with only two
      > dozens of dead soldiers.
      > The reality was a different one.In truth heavy battles raged in the
      > villages on the Terek for circa three weeks,as a result of which 2000
      > russian soldiers were killed.Again and again chechen reinforcements
      > crossed the Terek and reconquered villages,inflicting heavy losses on
      > the russian positions and convoys.After three weeks Aslan Maskhadov
      > and Shamil Basayev gave the order to retreat,because the chechens saw
      > no sense in fighting any longer in the North,because they now were
      > concentrating their efforts in defending Grozny.
      > Small rebel groups remained in the Steppe-region and began to start a
      > bloody guerilla war.In the years 2000-2005 regular rebel attacks took
      > place with sometimes high russian losses in this region.In 2006 and
      > 2007 the rebel attacks weakened.This had many reasons.For example over
      > the years many rebels became tired of fighting and hiding in this
      > difficult terrain.When Dokka Umarov gave the order to spend the winter
      > in the mountains in 2006,many rebels from the lowlands,including the
      > north,relocated to the South.Additionally prominent rebel commanders
      > in Northern Chechnya were killed in 2006-2007,among them Leche
      > Eskiev,Tahir Batuyev and Amir Muslim.
      > In Autumn 2006 Dokka Umarov split the North into a Northwestern and a
      > Northeastern Front.The Northwestern Front included some parts of the
      > Stavropol-Kray,the Northeastern front parts of Dagestan like Kizlyar
      > and Khasavyurt.These two new fronts failed completely.The rebels were
      > more and more confused and disorganized,the border crossings into
      > Dagestan were not understandable for many guerillas,as in Dagestan
      > there are enough own rebels.In summer 2007 the rebels´ northern flank
      > was on the brink of collapse.The commander of the Northwestern Front
      > Amir Imam and his combat groups didn´t fought in the north,but in the
      > regions Grozny,Argun,Schali.Amir Daud,new commander of the
      > Northeastern Front since may 2007,spent his time in Dagestan around
      > Khasavyurt,where he and his units acted.In the Naur-and Shelkov
      > districts only a handful of highly-frustrated and disorganized
      > guerillas remained.While the rebels heavily attacked the russian
      > troops in the Southern Mountains,seizing the whole open
      > mountain-terrain,over the whole last summer only one attack in
      > Northern Chechnya was reported.Dokka Umarov had completely
      > concentrated his efforts on seizing the southern third of the republic
      > in order to create more bases in the conquered mountain-forest-areas.
      > In September 2007 several young commanders from the North travelled
      > personally to Dokka Umarov to the mountains to complain about their
      > misery in the North.One commander told Umarov:
      > "We are glad to hear,that our chechen mujahideen are successfull in
      > establising control in the southern mountains after so many years of
      > heavy Jihad,but unfortunately i have to tell you,that the mujahideen
      > movement north of the Terek is close to death." Another commander
      > complained,that the two front commanders Amir Imam and Amir Daud "were
      > not seen in the Naur-and Shelkov-districts since they became
      > commanders.They do not fulfill their duties."
      > Usually chechen rebels do not blame and verbally attack each
      > other,especially not in the public.These dramatic statements alarmed
      > Umarov and he didn´t hesitate to react.Only days later in the first
      > days of October the Northwestern-and Northeastern Fronts were
      > disbanded and a new "Northern Front" was created,just like between
      > 2002 and 2006.However this time Umarov decided,that only the two
      > northern chechen districts Naur and Shelkov should be part of this
      > front.The Nogay-areas in the Stavropol-Kray were included into the
      > "Caucasian Front",the northern and western areas of Dagestan were
      > included into the "Dagestan Front". The Nadterechny-and Sunzha
      > districts south of the Terek were included into the "Southwestern front".
      > While Amir Imam was reordered to the mountains,Amir Daud was appointed
      > as the new commander of the "Northern Front".But Umarov ordered him
      > now to stay exclusively in these two districts.Daud´s first task last
      > autumn was to reorganize the completely dispersed rebel groups in Naur
      > and Shelkov and to create a new powerfull military infrastructure in
      > the North.He knew,that in the North only in the forests along the
      > Terek bases for the mujahideen could be set up.So Daud and his men
      > cancelled their operations for several months and carried out a
      > large-scale restructuring of the "northern Front".Some experienced
      > rebels,who originated from the northern part, left their mountain
      > bases and relocated back to their home region.The rebels tried to
      > bring the Terek forests under their control, young chechen volunteers
      > were recruited,a new intelligence network made up of civilians and
      > secret allies inside the pro-russian chechen militias was created.
      > With the onset of spring in march the rebels increased their work,more
      > and more bases were establised across the entire Terek-forest line
      > between Borozdinovskaya on the dagestani border to Isherskaya on the
      > border to the Stavropol-Kray.(watch Google Earth) The Terek
      > forest-line is up to 150 kilometer long,a huge line,in which the
      > rebels can build numerous bases.Even in spring only two attacks were
      > reported near the village Chervlennaya,the enemy-losses were unknown.
      > Today at the end of may and with the summer approaching the situation
      > in Naursky-and Shelkovsky is following:
      > The chechen rebels have largely reorganized their Northern Front over
      > the past 8 months.Huge work has been done.Many north-grown rebels
      > returned from the mountains,many young chechens joined the rebels.They
      > have managed to bring the big forest line on the northern Terek-bank
      > under their control,where they have set up many new bases.Amir Daud
      > turned out to be a very capable organizer.Over the past 8 months he
      > has managed to revitalize an almost dead resistance in the Northern
      > Steppe.Now Commander Daud has a new task for the summer.He has to
      > prove,that he is also a skillful military commander.The rebels control
      > the Terek-forests with many bases,they have regrouped,are well armed
      > and their number has grown.Now Daud has to act and has to icnrease the
      > rebel operations in the coming summer weeks.We will see the possible
      > results in the near future.
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