North Caucasus Insurgency: Dead or Alive?   [open pdf - 4MB]

"Violence in the North Caucasus, a multi-ethnic region on Europe's easternmost edge, has been going on almost continuously since 1994, becoming a hallmark of post-Soviet Russia. Back then, just 3 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and 5 years after the Soviet military's withdrawal from Afghanistan, armed conflict in the nation's southwestern periphery broke out following the Russian Army's incursion into the breakaway republic of Chechnya. Within less than a decade, what began as a local ethno-separatist rebellion effectively morphed into an Islamist insurgency, spreading in the early-2000s from Chechnya to most of the Muslim-majority region. Moreover, even though the Russian authorities declared in 2009 the ultimate end of the counterterrorist operation, jihadist groups have still been underway in the North Caucasus. Against the background of impressive research on the political violence in the region, this monograph seeks to carefully evaluate the current situation and the prospects of the North Caucasus insurgency. To that end, it reviews the fundamental causes and the most-recent trends, both endogenous and exogenous, relating to the local insurgency. It explains in great detail the factors behind the unprecedented weakening of the local insurgency. At the same time, this monograph unveils the important shortcomings of these factors, pointing to the viability of the North Caucasus insurgency and predicting that in the short and medium term, locally operating jihadist groups will remain a factor of regional and Russian politics."

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U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/
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