Posts tagged "Chechnya"
Handcuffed to Memory

Handcuffed to Memory

We live in confining times. Prison narratives proliferate and disappear quickly. Yet only the occasional narrative, such as Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary (2015), receives sustained attention and then due to its obvious political import. Prison writing is difficult because it forces a double confrontation, both with state and self. More»

Putin in Syria

Putin in Syria

Apparently, the Russians are leaving. Seemingly out of nowhere, Vladimir Putin declared that the operation had “largely achieved” its aims, and Russian forces would be winding down operations in Syria. Not that this means the Russian military base will be dismantled. Far from it. More»

Syria in Russian

Syria in Russian

In realpolitik minds, Vladimir Putin casts the shadow of a shrewd player on the world stage. He opposes ‘humanitarian interventions’, while he aggressively defends Russia’s national sovereignty. Even still, it’s true Putin understands power as well as he wields it. Putin’s primary interest is in the consolidation of the state and the maintenance of its power. More»

Chechnya Déjà Vu

Chechnya Déjà Vu

The Russians are here. The echo chamber couldn’t be any larger. From Beirut to Washington, everyone has been repeating the same thing. Referring to Moscow’s military build-up in Syria, you can understand the surprise. For the first time in fifteen years, Russia had comitted military assets to the War on Terror. Or so it appears. More»

The Allure of ISIS

The Allure of ISIS

When I called a father-in-law of one of the women who purportedly left Georgia to join fighters in Syria (along with a relative), he shouted angrily, saying that the “girls are simply” in Turkey, and that the gossip must stop. More»

Georgia's Teen Jihadists

Georgia’s Teen Jihadists

If you drive towards the eastern part of Georgia, to the Chechen border, in Akhmeta, you’ll find a group of picturesque villages, home to the Kists, an ethnic group that traces its origins back to the Chechens of the northern Caucasus. More»

Murder in Moscow

Murder in Moscow

Former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov was shot dead as he walked from Red Square arm-in-arm with Anna Durytska, a 23 year-old Ukrainian model, just days before he was set to appear before an anti-war rally. The assassination has opened up an array of questions for Russian society, none of which will easily be ignored. More»

Kurdish Spring Soundtrack

Kurdish Spring Soundtrack

The Arab Spring seems like a century ago. Starting in late 2010, there was every reason to believe that it would make the Middle East synonymous with social democracy. With the exception of its most fearful critics, no one could have predicted that it would dissolve into the bloodbath currently engulfing Syria and its neighbors. More»

Feminising Islamic Militarism

Feminising Islamic Militarism

Since the War on Terror began, and especially since the rise of Islamic State, analysts have been alarmed by female jihadists. Maybe “alarmed” is the wrong word. Bewildered seems more appropriate. Regardless, the topic is quickly becoming an industry in its own right. More»

Putin's Asia

Putin’s Asia

Last year, many commentators in the West were aghast at the Russian stance on the Syrian civil war. It was in early 2013 when Russia and China presented a united opposition at the UN Security Council to intervention in Syria. It was also flabbergasted at the Russian opposition, in the summer of 2013, to Obama’s proposed ‘punitive measures’ (read: indiscriminate bombing.) More»

Soviet Neocons

Soviet Neocons

One of the difficulties of critically discussing the Soviet-Afghan war is conceptually imagining Soviet imperialism. Many leftists are hesitant to condemn the nature of Soviet militarism in countries like Afghanistan. While there are understandable reasons for this, it misses the crucial point. More»

Yeltsin Nostalgia

Yeltsin Nostalgia

Today’s tensions with Vladimir Putin probably make American policymakers nostalgic for the days of Boris Yeltsin. If we wish to understand today’s Russia, we have to look at the way the Federation emerged from the tumultuous collapse of the USSR. Putin’s allegiances were clear from the beginning. He was not a mindless KGB thug, as he is often portrayed. More»