Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith

By Sebastian Smith

Publish 12 months note: First released in 1998
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Ancient visitors known as the Caucasus the mountain of languages. Greeks, Persians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Mongols and Turks have all undergone the quarter; poets and artists were encouraged through its rugged attractiveness and but its historical past is a sad one - for hundreds of years it's been ravaged via almost non-stop warfare. each 50 years, it sort of feels, Russia makes an attempt to take keep an eye on of this highly strategic a part of the realm - sandwiched because it is among Iran, Turkey and Russia and crossed by means of the most beneficial oil pipelines on the earth.

The most recent clash to comb around the quarter begun while Vladimir Putin invaded Chechnya in 1999. hundreds of thousands of Russian squaddies and hundreds of thousands extra Chechens - either rebels and civilians - died and Chechnya's cities and towns have been bombed past attractiveness. Sebastian Smith travelled to Chechnya in this interval.

A mix of travelogue, heritage and conflict journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the tale of the clash among this country of mountain tribes and the could of the Russian military. A relocating instance of the way historical past may be written. Smith's account of the historic historical past to the clash reads like a unique, yet larger, since it additionally has the intimacy and immediacy of an eyewitness account. He has given us a memorable, well-researched account of a specially terrible conflict. - Literary assessment this can be a riveting ebook, written with virtually seemless beauty. - foreign Affairs

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This will be a big conceptual shift for an EU that has traditionally seen these countries as empty vessels for the export of the acquis communautaire, but it should bring great rewards. The most powerful way for the EU to boost its image in the eastern neighbourhood would be to liberalise its visa policy. Aside from the soft power benefits, a more welcoming visa regime would help neighbourhood states by helping to “Europeanise” future elites and, paradoxically, easing problems of brain drain by making possible a return of the most ambitious and hard-working emigrants – many of whom are now “stranded” as illegal workers inside Member States.

Yet the EU shied away from complementing EUBAM with a political strategy to broker a deal between the parties to the conflict, and made only modest efforts to replace the dysfunctional Russian-dominated peacekeeping force or to push Russia to respect its commitments on troop withdrawal. Today, there are no signs of Russian troops leaving Transnistria – around 1,300 remain in the region – and a resolution to the conflict seems as distant as ever. In Crimea, the EU’s involvement has been negligible; to date there has been no official response to the threatening noises made by Putin at the Bucharest NATO summit.

Pdf. strain. All the neighbourhood states are exposed to this risk. 4 million; if Russia forced even a small proportion of these migrants to return home, the social and political consequences for Azerbaijan could be devastating. Russian and EU hard power at a glance Russia • Non-withdrawal of troops • “Passportisation” • Infrastructure takeovers • Differential energy prices • Oil and gas embargoes • Trade blockades (wine, vegetables, meat) European Union • Monitoring and border missions • “Smart sanctions”, travel bans, asset freezes • Financial assistance • Critical assessment of ENP action plans The wide array of hard power tools used by Russia shows its determination to achieve its foreign policy goals — but it also exposes the country’s weaknesses.

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