broke out in August, 1999 in the Russian area of Dagestan as
guerrilla forces infiltrated from neighboring Chechnya.
Following months of clashes and tension in the border area of
the semi-independent state of Chechnya and the Russian Republic
of Dagestan, rebels seized control of several villages and
battled Russian troops. Approximately 2,000 self-proclaimed
Islamic rebels battled the growing numbers of Russian troops.
The Russian government reinforced the 17,000 soldiers already
in the region and carried out airstrikes against the rebels.
Within the first six days of the war's outbreak, Russian
warplanes flew at least 200 sorties.
The local populace
did not flock to the rebel banner, allowing the Russian forces
the opportunity to take the initiative and drive the rebels out
of Dagestan and back into Chechnya.
After driving the
rebels from Dagestan, Russian forces pursued the rebels into
Chechnya with the intent of ending the separatist republic's
existence. To this end, a ruthless military push toward the
Chechen capital of Grozny began. Learning from their failed
1994-1996 war against the Chechens, the Russians made extensive
and heavy use of long-distance weaponry. Chechen cities and
villages were leveled by intense Russian air attacks and
artillery bombardment designed to maximize rebel losses while
minimizing Russian casualties.
Russia now claims
control of Grozny, but rebel units and snipers still fight on
inside the city as the war turns to the countryside. The war
then turned into a rural guerrilla conflict, and then, by 2002,
into an urban terror campaign designed to weaken Russia's will
As the rural
guerrilla war continues to simmer, the Chechen resistance has
begun a bloody campaign in Russia's heartland. Continual
bombings have struck terror in Moscow and other Russian cities
as the Chechens target subways, concerts, commercial aircraft,
theaters and, in September of 2004, the middle school in the
town of Beslan, where hundreds of children and parents were
killed. Chechen terrorists also set off suicide bombs in
Moscow's Domodedovo airport on January 24, 2011, killing at
least 35, and wounding over 150.
One of the
allegations that Putin's government claims is that the Chechens
hold ties to al-Qaida, the Islamic terror network founded by
Osama bin Laden. Evidence exists to support this claim, which
aids Moscow in its assertion that they, too are part of the
world-wide War on Terror proclaimed by American President
George W. Bush.
continue to grow as they pursue the Chechen forces into the
mountainous regions to the south. Also, areas that Russia
claims are pacified periodically erupt in hit and run ambushes
of Russian troops. The war for Chechnya does not appear to have
an end in sight.