Russia: January 11, 2003


The fighting in Chechnya has been brutal by Western standards, but not according to the way Chechens and Russians have fought each other for over two centuries. But times change, and so far 46 Russian soldiers have been convicted of brutal acts in Chechnya. Eleven were convicted of murder and 13 for rape. While many Chechens are willing to remain part of Russia, in return for the same kind of autonomy enjoyed by other ethnic regions, a significant minority of the population is determined to fight on. This has occurred in the past, and in those cases the problem was resolved by killing or driving into exile all the rebels. This is less likely to work this time because the Chechen rebels have joined the al Qaeda network, providing them with a base of support for continued terror operations.


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