13 February 2010

Brutality and COIN

Further evidence that the totally brutal response to COIN doesn't usually work: violence in the Muslim regions of Russia is once again in the news. Today, 20 people died in Ingushetia, as Muslim separatists fought with Russian security forces. This violence has been going on for the last few years, getting worse every summer.

Russia has long been one of the most brutal states in terms of using violence to suppress separatist violence. During the Chechen Wars, the Russians pounded Chechnya brutally, utterly destroying the city of Grozny and any place insurgents were thought to be hiding. The Russians specifically targeted apartment buildings and infrastructure, and killed thousands of people, both Chechen and Russian.

But that's not been enough to stop it. Willpower and brutality never are; they just cause the other side to respond likewise. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Russia has learned that lesson yet.

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