Month: March 2008

Armed Clashes in Chechnya

Reuters reports on a renewal of fighting in southern Chechnya:

Five security officers, three separatists and a passer-by were killed during the gun battle in the Urus-Martanovskiy district just after 10:00 pm Moscow time (3 p.m. EDT) on Wednesday night, Interfax reported.

“A group of 10 to 15 militants were discovered in a wood on the outskirts of the village of Alkhazurovo… An armed clash took place with law-enforcement officers,” a security source was quoted as saying by Interfax.

The local resident was shot dead by escaping separatists when they fired on his car, while two other passengers were injured, agencies reported.

Missing the Point

Two-thirds of the way through an assessment of the U.S. missile defence shield as “Russia’s Red Herring” in negotiations with a Washington administration that is sometimes seen as slow to put two and two together where foreign policy issues – particularly Russia-related ones – are concerned, Robert Amsterdam writes:

Washington’s failure to respond positively to Putin’s unprecedented security cooperation following 9/11 will go down as the greatest wasted opportunity in recent history.

One wonders whether Washington – or indeed any other Western government professing to uphold the values of democracy and human rights – could have responded positively to “security” initiatives by a regime that engendered the documented massacres committed by its armed forces in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, and – it now seems probable – the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia which killed several hundred innocent civilians and served as a pretext for the opening of the second Russian military campaign in Chechnya.