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<nettime> Chechnya commentary digest (2x)
nettimes_digestive_system on Sun, 21 Nov 1999 00:37:25 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Chechnya commentary digest (2x)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 14:26:00 -0700
From: Jeff Gandy <jeff {AT} mindspear.com>

> In Chechenya, Russians combined the ugliest elements of two military
> doctrines: of a superpower like the U.S. - the propensity to fight their
> war >from the air and from the safe distance,

It's rather bizarre how you can classify this as "the ugliest element of
war".  I rather think that the ugliest element would hardly consist of
precision guided munitions.  Instead, it would probably consist of a
demand of unilateral surrender under the threat of nuclear destruction,
and the willingness to follow through on the threat. 

There is hardly a "pretty" side to any war.  If you live in the hope of
seeing some strategic element that you can slap that moniker on - you will
be waiting a long time. 

There is much more hope in seeing an elimination of war.  Even that is
certainly a vague, distant hope, and most likely unachievable as long as
there are dictators on the planet. 


Jeff A. Gandy

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 11:13:05 -0500

I don't think the Red Army is taking revenge only on Chechenya for the
past defeat - it takes revenge on NATO for the global defeat Russia
believes it suffered by dismantling of Warszaw Pact and Soviet Union.
Continuation of shelling civilians in Chechenya under an explanation of
the "internal matter" (the same like French in Algers and like Serbs in
Kosovo) is like saying in face of the NATO dominated "new world order" -
you see, we do the same that Serbs wanted to do in Kosovo, and you guys
can't stop us. We are still strong, we are still powerful, we can do
whatever we please. This is better than masturbation for generals. The
sarcasm does not end here: yesterday I saw on BBC a Russian officer
repeating exactly the same line general Mladic spoke to civilians in
Srebrenica before the slaughter in summer 95, and what the Serb police
major, responsible for sacking the village of Prekaz in Kosovo said in
March 98: "We gave everyone in the town a chance to leave."  Russian
officer noted that they left a corridor open for civilians to leave and
that anybody who stayed after that should reasonably be considered a
bandit and a terrorist now. 

Check this out:


Date sent:      Mon, 15 Nov 1999 17:50:43 -0500
Send reply to:  International Justice Watch Discussion List
From:           Diane Asadorian <Asadorian {AT} MEDIAONE.NET>
Subject:        The Right to Slaughter?

Cross posting of commentary only

Maybe I'm getting more conservative every day...or at least I am more
and more respectful of William Safire.

Diane Asadorian

          November 15, 1999


          Red Army Revenge

                 WASHINGTON -- More than 60 Russian SS-21 missiles and
                 scores of Scuds have ripped into the civilian populace in
the capital of Chechnya, as the Red Army seeks vengeance for its
humiliating defeat by independence-minded guerrillas five years ago. 

          This time the generals calling the shots have Russian public
opinion on their side. Chechen terrorists struck into a neighboring state
loyal to Russia and are also widely believed to be behind murderous
bombings in Russian cities. The average Russian wants to get even. 

          Russian generals have seized on this popular sentiment to demand
more money and more recruits. The generals' lust to use scarce resources
to ebuild Russia's military might comes at a propitious moment for them:
one month from now, elections to parliament take place. 

          Candidates fan fear of terrorists into hatred of all Chechens,
including refugees struggling to get out of the war zone.  The Communist
Party, Primakov-Luzhkov nationalists and crooks in the Kremlin all vie to
take credit for the Red Army's "victories." Russian television ignores the
plight of the nearly quarter million refugees fleeing the rain of Russian
missiles, bombs and shells. 

          Taking advantage of this anger and catering to the generals'
desire for prestige and power is Boris Yeltsin's latest prime minister,
ex-K.G.B. apparatchik Vladimir Putin. His poll ratings soared as he
allowed the generals to transform what began as a necessary response to
terrorist incursions into an all-out war to crush the Chechen independence

          This is precisely why Moscow supported the Serb campaign to wipe
out the Kosovars, insisting that the brutal ethnic cleansing by Slobodan
Milosevic was "purely an internal matter"; its generals had the same fate
in mind for the Chechen insurgency. The same military clique that seized
the airfield in Kosovo is calling the shots at Chechen residents of
Grozny. Their argument is the same in both places:  rulers have the right
to slaughter unruly subjects and their families. 

          When President Clinton raised the subject of the savage Russian
assault at a recent Oslo photo op with Putin, Yeltsin's man brushed him
off with the same "purely internal" claim -- none of the world's business. 

          But what about Russia's treaty with the West limiting
conventional weapons in the Caucasus? In its massive anti-Chechen buildup
of troops and missiles, Moscow ignored treaty obligations -- while
demanding we risk American lives by adhering to every jot and tittle of
our ABM treaty. Mr. Clinton, while fecklessly tut-tutting at the loss of
innocent life, failed to make that obvious connection. 

          Inside Russia in the month leading up to Duma elections, few
voices are being raised against the slaughter. After the Russian commander
threatened to "flatten the whole place with bombs," one dissident dared to
say: "We are living with a creeping military coup.  Yeltsin cannot sack
Putin and Putin cannot sack the generals. They would refuse to go." 

          Other voices of conscience are no longer silent. Last week, the
leaders of the democratic reform movement Yabloko, Grigory Yavlinsky and
Sergei Stepashin, dared to make a campaign issue of the indiscriminate
bombing of civilians. 

          The Yabloko proposal was hardly soft-line: issue an ultimatum to
the Chechen leader. Stop supporting terrorists engaged in bombings and
cross-border raids, kick out the soldiers of fortune engaged in kidnapping
and the slave trade -- and then negotiate or face military takeover. But
it was the first mention inside Russia of negotiation as an alternative to
"flattening the whole place." 

          The democratic reformers had hoped to double the 7 percent of
the Duma seats they now control; after their recent display of decency and
good sense, their goal is now in jeopardy. Nationalists are in full howl;
Yeltsin's defense minister whips up zeal by accusing the U.S. of inciting
Chechens to "weaken Russia and take full control over the North Caucasus." 

          Next week Clinton will meet Yeltsin at a European security
conference in Istanbul, the same time George W. Bush tackles foreign
affairs at the Reagan Library and John McCain continues to make a case for
national missile defense. 

          Which one will speak for the United States and human rights? 
Who would stop the flow of dollars to a regime that deliberately uses our
money to fire missiles at civilians? 

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