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Unformatted text preview: Violence and confl ict in the Russian North Caucasus International Aff airs 83 : 4 (2007) 681705 2007 The Author(s). Journal Compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/The Royal Institute of International Aff airs DOMITILLA SAGRAMOSO * Since 2006 there has been a signifi cant reduction in the level of fi ghting in the Russian republic of Chechnya between federal troops and Chechen rebels, indicating a substantial weakening of the insurgency as a result of the actions taken by Russian forces and their pro-Moscow Chechen allies. However, violence in the region has not entirely subsided; indeed, it has been spreading to neighbouring regions in the North Caucasus. Today, a loose network of formally autonomous violent groups, or Islamic jamaats , has developed throughout the region, primarily in the Muslim republics of Ingushetia, Dagestan, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balka- ria. 1 Over the past three years these groups have conducted many terrorist attacks against law enforcement structures, government offi cials and also local religious fi gures. Despite regular eff orts by security forces to subdue these Islamic terrorist networks, the situation remains highly volatile. During 2005 and 2006, the vast mountainous republic of Dagestan reported over 100 terrorist incidents, including the assassination of the Minister of Nationalities and two attempts on the life of the Minister of the Interior. In October 2005, over 100 armed militants carried out a series of simultaneous attacks on police, security and military sites in Nalchik, the capital of the western North Caucasian republic of Kabardino-Balkariarep- licating a similar attack that had taken place the previous year in Nazran, the capital of neighbouring Ingushetia. The Republic of Ingushetia has also experienced an upsurge in terrorist attacks against law enforcement offi cers and government offi cials during the past two years, including the murder of the Deputy Interior Minister. In the ethnically mixed republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, the past year has seen a series of terrorist attacks targeted not only on law enforcement offi cials but also on members of the offi cial Islamic clergy. Even in Chechnya, violence has not been entirely eliminated. Although no major indiscriminate terrorist attacks have occurred since the Beslan school siege in September 2004, rebel forces continue to in ict casualties on Russian federal troops and pro-Moscow Chechen security forces. Far from abating, the violence seems to be spreading to the neigh- bouring regions of Stavropol and North Ossetia. * the author would like to thank Denis Corboy and the Caucasus Policy Institute, Kings College London, for their support of the project on which this article is based....
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