Warfare and Diplomacy in the News: War in the Caucasus & Umarov's Emirate

Conflict in the Caucasus region has been a major diplomatic and political issue abroad and in the Russian Federation since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite republics in 1991.

Rebel Chechens in the First Chechen War December 1994-May 1996

No other former Soviet region besides Yugoslavia and its republics perhaps, has experienced as much bloodshed, sectarian revolt, and conflict as the Caucasus. To date the Russian Federation has fought in 5 major conflicts in Caucasus: The First Chechen War 1994-1996, the Second Chechen War from 1999-2009 and the ongoing insurgency in Chechnya, conflicts against Georgia and the breakaway Abkhazia state, and the anti-insurgency campaign against Islamists which continue to this day.

Russian military in the Caucasus. Similiar perhaps to those "advisors" sent by the Russian Federation to Syria recently as of March 2012.

The campaigns in the Caucasus especially against the Islamist factions of Doku Umarov (b.1964-Present), called by some in the Russia or international media, the ‘Russian Osama Bin Laden’, have formed yet another front in the ongoing War on Terror.

The unrecognized and embattled Islamic state in the Northern Caucasus led by Umarov is a descendant of the Chechen breakaway Ichkeria republic, exiled after the close of the Second Chechen War and Russian military victory in 2009.

The Emirate's Flag

Umarov's soldiers and agents have so far employed the tactics and strategies of guerrillas and/or terrorists everywhere, using suicide bombers in inhabited areas to cause fear and outrage, while using RPG's and small arms fire to ambush Russian troops, who have been stationed in the Caucasus since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

Young Russian paratroopers preparing for service in the Caucasus

Russia’s campaigns against the movements in the Caucasus have been rife with atrocities on both sides, and claims that the Russian Federation has committed war crimes have proven true except there is an almost total media blackout in Caucasus theater. Concerns ranged from covering up Russian army and military forces casualties and civilian deaths, and falsified combatant casualties. This includes the reported death of Umarov on a number of different occasions.

Map of the Caucasus and North Caucasus regions, the grey areas in Georgia are the sites of conflicts and ongoing insurgencies which are militarily supported and/or contested by the Russia military. Chechnya and parts of Ossetia make up the region contested by Umarov among other separatist factions with support secession from the Russian Federation 

Besides trying to assert federal control, Vladimir Putin and the Russian army, with the consent of many in the Russian public, have supported these campaigns so far, because of the frequency of terrorist attacks carried out on mainland Russia by separatist-terrorist movements since the 1990’s. Including most recently the 2011 suicide bombing at a Moscow Airport which killed 35 and wounded over a hundred Russians and foreign nationals.

Current Russian President and former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

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