November 18, 2006

Russian counter-insurgency

I found an interesting document from the rand think tank concerning Russia. Interesting strategic reading on counter-insurgency warfare by nations other than the US.

The lack of an urban training focus was not a mistake. Rather, it reflected
another conclusion military leaders had drawn from the first
war in Chechnya. The blood their troops had shed in Grozny convinced
Russian planners that the best approach to urban combat was
to avoid it altogether. Soldiers and officers should prepare to prevent
an urban fight, not to win it. Therefore, training for urban combat
was deemed a waste of time and money.

The Russians did it that way. American Marines did it the other way. Which do you think came out the better for it?

According to Russian sources, the Chechen resistance was no less
prepared in 1999 than it had been in 1994. According to one Russian
report, Chechen leaders established a network of training centers
employing some 100 foreign instructors as well as experienced
Chechen fighters. One such camp was run by Khattab, an Islamic
revolutionary originally from Saudi Arabia or Jordan (sources differ)
who had emerged as a key Chechen commander in the first war.

Well, learning from the Russians isn't just about copying their techniques or avoiding their failures. It is more like, understanding why the Russians failed and therefore understanding how we can succede.

The Russian press reported that Usama Bin Laden supported the
Chechen rebels by sending mercenaries from Afghanistan, Yemen,
and elsewhere to fight in Chechnya.18 Pakistani groups, including
Hizb-ul’-Mujeheddin and Kharakat-ul’-Mujeheddin, Al’ Badr,
Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Sepakhe Sakhaba Pakistan, the International
Islamic Front, and Usama Bin Laden’s Al’ Qaida also reportedly
trained and provided soldiers.19 According to press reports, the
Taliban in Afghanistan also sent men to fight alongside theC hechens. It is even possible that Iraq sent specialists to help
prepare defenses and build fortifications in Karabahi-Chabanmahi
(in the Buynaksk region of Dagestan).21

Isn't that interesting.

tance.24 At the time, a number of Russian and Western specialists
suggested that this approach, particularly the aerial attacks, emulated
NATO air operations over Serbia and Kosovo during Operation
Allied Force in 1999.25 Although several Russian military officers
made this argument, it is an unlikely explanation for Russian tactics.
True, the two actions shared a belief that air operations could coerce
enemy submission and limit the need for ground action. However,
this belief was not original to either NATO or the 1990s.26 In fact,
Russian artillery bombardments of Grozny looked far more like the
use of artillery in Russia’s World War II campaigns than like a NATO
air war. It is therefore more plausible that the Russians were not
modeling their operations on NATO’s, but rather employing an
approach from their own history.27

I don't have the time to read it all, but you might.


Anonymous CJ said...

This has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to make sure you saw my apology on Blackfive. I misread who you were responding to and I apologize. As you can probably imagine, I haven't had a lot of sleep lately and completely missed Tom's comments. Please accept my apology for singling you out.

18 November, 2006 10:10  

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