>I am surprised to read Rob's arguments that Russia is not going to win.
>This war is well-supplied logistically and they are already digging in and
>are prepared to surround Grozny and shell it throughout a long winter. They
>persist in ruling out negotiations. 

Well, they might call it a win in the sense that NATO's silly slaughter in
Yugoslavia got carded as a win, I s'pose.  There, as here, the actual
military campaign itself soon (and predictably) reached the point of
publicly apparent untenability, and an intrusion from outside was brought to
bear.  There, too, negotiations were persistently ruled out until there was

In the terms, as I understand them, that this slaughter was justified (eg.
to stabilise Dagestan, to rid Russia of allegedly Chechen terrorism,
possibly to protect important oil sources, and mebbe to nip Muslem
seccessionism in the bud), this adventure is a joke, for mine.  I predicted
intensified instability, impoverishment and blood'n'guts in Yugoslavia in
April, and I'm predicting it for Russia, Chechnya and Dagestan now.  I also
predict that, as we have a healthy Serbian military still in place in
Belgrade, we shall have a healthy Chechen guerilla force in Chechnya a year
from now (of course, both Serbia and Chechnya have been ruined in the
process, but that's not what we're talking about).  I also suspect (mebbe
'know' is a better word) that there is no tenable exit strategy available to
Moscow other than some sorta external intervention.  If they're seen to
flatten Grosny, wave a few bearded heads on pikes about, and then leave
again - all at their own behest - they're gonna look foolish to the point of
political untenability, I reckon.  A shattered treasury, a few hundred dead
Russian boys, and not one initially promulgated objective assured.

>The one thing that can be said for them is unlike in Kosovo and East Timor,
>the local population has not been terrorised by para-military fascists. 

Do we know enough about how the guerillas were behaving in Chechnya before
this ghastly business?  I don't.  All I know about Chechnya really comes
from generalising from some basic principles to do with conventional
large-scale military adventures in effectively foreign climes against a
determined guerilla foe.  That much I'll admit.


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