Friday, 1 May 2015


National Geographical July 2005

Family positive living for Chechans has been a hopeless dream for centuries. But Chechan jihadists are taking on the world from the traditional enemy Russia to the United States. They are committing their people to perpetual war that has not stopped in 300 years.

Chechnya is the bleeding heart of the Caucasus which stretches 759 miles from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. This has been coveted ground since the days of Genghis Khan. Please click

Chechnya - National Geographic magazine
How did it come to this? ... Published: July 2005 ... in the Caucasus, 
the mountainous region on their country's southwestern flank that 
includes Chechnya and ..

These are still perilous lands where brides are still kidnapped, blood feuds are fierce and centuries old struggles for sovereignty still rage.

Armed resistance and a demand for autonomy has shaped life in Chechnya since the Russian troops invaded in the 1720s.

The expansion of Tsarist Russia, a bastion of orthodox Christianity coincided with the rise of Islam in Chechnya – a religious divide that has fuelled nearly 3 centuries of Chechan revolt.

With Chechan and other fighters, Muslim leader Shiamil battled Russian invaders for 25 years. With Shamil’s surrender in 1859, the formerly independent ethnic enclave became  part of the Russian empire.

After the fall of Tsarist rule in 1917, a Soviet delegation joined Chechans to mark the new status as a separate ethnic region. Chechans rebelled against forced collective farming.

Suspicious of Chechan loyalties during the Nazi invasion of the Caucasus in 1942, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered the exile of 500,000 Chechans to central Asia. Up to a third of the deportees died in transit.

Most Chechans view this as genocide. Not until 1957, under the de-Stalinization program of Nikita Krushchev were the former inhabitants allowed to resettle.

As the Soviet Union began to collapse, former air force general Dzhokhar Dudayev led a movement that toppled the communist rule in Chechnya and declared an independent nation.

Expecting an easy victory, Russian forces invaded Chechnya to reassert federal rule. Two years later, the humiliated troops withdrew, unable to hold the heavily damaged capital of Groznyy.

A raid into Dagestan by Chechen Islamic extremists ignited a new Russian offensive. Despite retaking Groznyy and rounding up suspected rebels, Russian forces continued to fight for control.

The Chechnya conflict gained the headlines in horrific fashion when terrorists demanded the removal of Russian troops and seized hostages at a school in Besian in North Ossetia. The fire fight between terrorists and security forces killed some 330 people, half of them children.

Among the profusion of ancient peoples amid the labyrinth of ethnic and religious traditions one group stands apart. The Chechans have yearned for freedom. Since their first fight with Peter the Great’s cavalry in 1722, Chechans have struggled to escape Russian domination.

The roots of the present trouble like much of the tension in the Caucasus, began with Joseph Stalin. When the Bolshevik army finally wrested control over the region in 1920s, Slalin hatched a scheme to subjugate the restive population.

In February 1944, the entire Chechan population was forced into exile, wrongly accused of collaborating with the Nazis. They were rounded up and packed off in freight cars to Central Asia and Siberia.

In 1957, Soviet leader Kruschev allowed them to return home. Slowly they reclaimed their towns and villages from the Russian settlers.

In the final years of the Soviet Union, the Chechans were the first to test their bonds. Cries for freedom ignited a rebellion. On the final day of 1994, Yeltsin launched what is now known as the first Chechan war.

For the Russians, the war soon became a costly mess. The Chechans pursued a dream of their ancestors. It was a dream of freedom. The Chechans won the day but their homeland became a magnet for Moslem extremists.

In the summer of 1999, the second war began when some 1200 Chechans invaded neighbouring Dagestan to unite the Islamic states of the North Caucasus. Thousands of Chechan civilians had fled their homes. Many had no choice but to head south into Europe.

Amid the devastation, the dream of sovereignty gave way to the urge for revenge and among the militants came a new name – Jihad.

Wahabism the most austere form of Islam which emanates from Saudi Arabia, has held great allure for young Chechans raised on war and Russian brutality. The insurgency has long attracted foreign Islamist militants who see the breakaway republic as a potential centre for global operations.

Chechans now talk of basic needs, personal and economic security. They are tired of Russian soldiers raiding their villages. They are tired of Chechan fighters taking over the same villages. They want only a moment of peace. Please click:

The Rise of the Chechen Emirate? :: Middle East Quarterly - 
He argued that Chechens, as Muslims, cannot live outside Islam and must 
defend ... By the start of the second Chechen war in 1999, jihadists began 
pressing the ... theChechen government-in-exile and demanded that 
Chechen representatives ... with no regard for the families of jihadists 
killed and wounded in Chechnya.

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