CAUCASUS EMIRATE: Fierce fighting reported between Russian forces and mujahideen in Kabarda-Balkaria-Karachai
Fierce fighting goes on in United Province of KBK’s Elbrus district. Invaders using aviation.
© Kavkaz Center
February 23, 2011 12:02 Emirate Time
Fiighting is taking place for almost a day between the Russian invaders from the occupation gang of “Special Forces” and a mobile unit of the Mujahideen in the Elbrus district of the United Province of Kabarda-Balkaria-Karachai (KBK).
Information about what is happening is contradictory. Occupation sources refer to the fact that there is no stable communication in the battle zone due to weather conditions.
Meanwhile, according to invaders’ [Russian] reports the fighting is fierce. This indicates that the invaders are using aircraft, which strikes at places of possible positions of the Mujahideen.
It is reported that the invaders are also using heavy mortars and artillery. Large force of invaders and their puppets are sent to the battle area. There is no clear information on the number of Mujahideen.
Previously, the invaders stated that the Mujahideen unit consistied of 7 men. Then it was suggested that several groups of Mujahideen are involving in the fighting.
There are also contradictory reports about the losses of the sides. Invaders initially reported that “a squad of Mujahideen was discovered in the Elbrus district”. In the ensuing clashes five Mujahideen were allegedly killed.
Later it was claimed that 3 Mujahideen were killed, only 3 gang members of “special forces” were allegedly injured from the invaders’ side.
It is to be mentioned thereupon that even some Russian media outlets note that claims of the occupation command about the Mujahideen casualties have not been confirmed and that there is no accurate data on whether there are casualties among the Mujahideen at all.
After some time the invaders said that a fight between a mobile squad of Mujahideen and a detachment of the invaders from the gang of special forces consisted of the so-called contractors-mercenaries took place near the village Bylym, Elbrus region, at about 3:00 pm on Tuesday.
Initially it was reported that it was Mujahideen who attacked a checkpoint and a police station. A few hours later the invaders changed the original version and said that “militant were discovered”.
Occupation command said that an invader was killed and 6 others wounded as a result of fighting.
Meanwhile, ITAR-TASS news agency referring to the occupation command reported that no accurate data available on losses among the Mujahideen. “If there were dead bodies, they have taken them with them”, the agency was told by a representative of the occupation command.
At the same time, RIA Novosti news agency was reported by a spokesman for the occupation gang “NAC (National Anti-terrorist Committee)” that 3 Mujahideen were allegedly killed and their bodies were taken for identification procedures. However, no facts to support this statement had been given.
In turn, Interfax news agency referring to the gang MIA reported that “a group of militants numbering up to 7 people attacked a police station of the Russian Interior Ministry troops in the Elbrus region”. This report indicated that the Mujahideen attacked a checkpoint of Interior Troops of the Russian Federation, 10 km south-east of the village of Bylym.
It is worth to be mentioned that the claims of a “success” in fightings against the Mujahideen appeared at the background of a secret visit to the Caucasus by the Kremlin’s idiotic dwarf leader Medvedev, who announced that behind the latest developments in the region ostensibly hide undefined “foreign forces”.
The information about operations against the Mujahideen was reported in standard Russian propaganda style, with reference to alleged Russian “tourists” who had been presumably shot dead by the same Mujahideen who were now “being tracked down in the mountains”.
Department of Monitoring
Is Russia ripe for a Twitter revolution?
© RIA Novosti
By Natasha Doff
February 17, 2011
At 16.32 on January 24 a suicide bomber blew himself up at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. The news was first broken on Twitter at 16.44 after which international news sites picked up on the story. Almost two hours later, Russia’s state-run TV channels announced the attack.
“Television is dead,” was the response of many in Russia’s growing army of bloggers. Others mocked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a self-proclaimed Twitter-addict, for allegedly learning about the blasts on the micro-blogging site.
With his near-constant chatter about Russia’s innovative future, Medvedev is slowly waking up to the fact that many Russians now appear to be shunning state TV channels and embracing the free realms of the Internet. But the lightning effects of the so-called Twitter revolutions across the Arab world may be giving him cause for concern.
And so it should. The Internet has become one of the few outlets for political dissent in Russia and a recent blogger trend of uncovering the country’s rampant corruption is gaining steam.
By far the ringleader of the trend is Alexei Navalny, a lawyer and blogger who in November accused former executives at Russia’s state-owned pipeline company, Transneft, of embezzling around $4 billion of public funds during the construction of the East Siberian Pacific Ocean pipeline.
In December, the activist announced that he was collecting donations to fund a Wikileaks-style website, Rospil.info, to document corruption. He aimed to collect around $100,000 in a year. Within three hours the fund had amassed $5,230.
“Blogs like Navalny’s are the future of Russian politics,” said Dimitry Gudkov, chairman of the opposition youth organization Young Socialists of Russia, at An Internet forum in Moscow last week. “Today 18-20 million people are following blogs like Nevalny’s, tomorrow this figure could be more like 40-50 million.”
But an increase in Internet dissent does not necessarily mean an Egypt-style revolution is on the horizon. Writer and researcher Evgeny Morozov believes the Internet has just as much potential to breed complacency as it does to incite change.
“Young Russians spend countless hours online downloading videos and having a very nice digital entertainment lifestyle, which does not necessarily turn them into the next Che Guevara,” Morozov told the U.S.-based Mother Jones magazine.
So far in Russia, the Internet has played a bigger role in quashing protests than spurring them on. During nationalist riots in December, the security services tracked blogs and social networking sites to trace people spreading nationalist sentiment and police quickly quashed planned uprisings announced on the web.
Navalny’s movement has also fallen into difficulties. In late January, Rospil fell victim to a cyber attack and was shut down for several days, and a court case accusing Navalny of causing more than 1 million rubles ($32,000) worth of damage to a state-owned timber company was reopened last week.
Russia’s political opposition, which holds regular small-scale protests in Moscow, is fragmented both on- and off-line and a handful of local activist groups scattered across the country are far from united.
The ruling United Russia party has also cottoned on to the growing power of the blogosphere and has allocated a budget to fund Internet campaigns and research.
“For many opposition movements, the Internet, while providing the opportunity to distribute information more quickly and cheaply, may have actually made their struggle more difficult in the long run,” Morozov says.
But so-called Twitter revolutions are not born on the web, they just use it to take flight. Numerous parallels have been drawn between Russia and Egypt since the uprising began. Corruption, a massive wealth disparity, rising inflation, to name just a few. Some say it is only a matter of time before the ticking time bomb explodes.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
Will Russia’s MiG abandon the Indian race?
© RIA Novosti
By Ilya Kramnik
February 15, 2011
The Indian tender for 126 MMRCAs (medium multi-role combat aircraft) to replace its ageing MiG-21s was announced long ago, but only now is the real intrigue unfolding. Competition between two main rivals – the United States’ F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Russia’s MiG-35 has been stiff.
The intrigue heightened after Russia announced its MiG-35 would not be on display at an air show in Bangalore. Many experts took the absence of a “real live” MiG as a sign that Russia was pulling out of the race.
Leading entries compared
The Russian and U.S. fighters each have their own strengths. The Super Hornet’s design maturity is indeed impressive. It has been in serial production for over 10 years and carries an active phased-array radar (APAR), which is also in serial production. The United States is also in a position to start manufacturing the aircraft for an Indian order at short notice.
The MiG-35’s advantages include India’s experience of MiG-29s and the fact that maintenance infrastructure for them is in place across the country, as well as Russia’s readiness to share production technology with India.
The MiG-35’s main shortcoming is its APAR: it is still in development and this is set to continue for a year or two. Also, despite its MiG-29 origins, the MiG-35 still needs refining before it can go into serial production.
Fundamentally, the only thing the MiG-35 shares with the previous MiG-29 family is its appearance. Its equipment and facilities have undergone a radical overhaul. The aircraft is now capable of using the very latest air-to-surface munitions, making it a multi-role fighter, unlike the MiG-29, which is considered an air-supremacy fighter.
The cockpit, in line with the current fashion, is equipped with multi-functional liquid-crystal display screens, while the HOTAS (hands on throttle-and-stick) system allows the pilot to manage all the weapons systems without taking their hands off the aircraft and engine controls.
Vectored-thrust engines make the plane much more maneuverable, increasing its chances of winning in close combat and avoiding long-range missile fire.
The fact that a two-seat version – the MiG-35D – is available, with the same kind of avionics as the single-seater, means that groups consisting of one- and two-seater aircraft can be formed, which are capable of carrying out highly complicated missions. In such formations the two-seaters become command planes, coordinating the moves of a flight or squadron.
Boeing meanwhile …
Unlike Russia, which decided not to put its MiG-35 on display in Bangalore, the United States has stepped up its activity and unveiled the latest version of the F/A-18, or the Silent Hornet, upscaled with stealth technology.
These warplanes are kitted out with conformal fuel tanks, enhanced performance engines, spherical missile laser warning (SM/LW), enclosed weapons pads and next generation cockpits complete with internal infrared search and tracking systems.
The aircraft on display at the show is the first to be developed as part of the International Super Hornet Roadmap program, which Boeing announced at the Farnborough air show last year. The fighter is being touted as a new generation in the Super Hornet family, which will feature improved combat survivability, situational awareness and performance for customers.
Boeing’s vice president Vivek Lall said that if India signs a contract with Boeing under the MMRCA tender it will be able to obtain this technology. “We are creating a platform which will be combat worthy for the next 30 or 40 years,” he said.
This announcement is unprecedented for an American company – until now only the United States’ closest allies have been granted full access to this kind of technology. All the others had to make do with what they were sold.
Tender results are expected to be announced this summer. They are particularly important for the MiG: should the MiG-35 fail to get an export order, Sukhoi aircraft will be left in a position of unassailable dominance on Russia’s combat aviation market.
Despite the unquestioned potential of Sukhoi platforms and their proven quality, such a monopoly is unlikely to be helpful.
Ilya Kramnik is RIA Novosti’s military commentator. The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
CAUCASUS EMIRATE: Fierce fighting in Nogai Steppe province reported: Russian soldiers killed, chopper downed
Fierce fighting in CE Nogai Steppe province reported: enemy soldiers killed, chopper downed in CE Nogai Steppe province reported: enemy soldiers killed, chopper downed
© Kavkaz Center
February 15, 2011 13:41 Emirate Time
A fierce fighting between a group of the Mujahideen and Russian invaders took place in the CE internal border area between the Combined Province of Kabarda-Balkaria-Karachai and Nogai Steppe Province in woodland near the settlement Belomechetinskaya, Russian occupation sources report.
The battle took place on Tuesday morning. The invaders initially claimed that 5 Mujahideen were martyred and that only one member of a Russian terrorist police gang had been killed and 3 others wounded.
Later, they stated that at least 3 police invaders had been eliminated and 3 others injured during the battle. As for the Mujahideen, the occupiers said they only assumed that 5 Mujahideen who were engaged in the battle had been killed.
It is to be mentioned in this context that there is no accurate data about what actually happened in the border area between the two provinces. There is also no exact data about losses on the both sides, as the occupiers regularly conceal their fatalities.
It is also reported that a Russian “Night Hunter” MI-28 helicopter crashed on the site of the battle. The invaders claim that the helicopter went down due to some technical reasons. According to other sources, the helicopter presumably made a hard landing in the area of Budennovsk.
Occupation sources also said that additional Russian terrorist forces were sent in the combat area who are now searching for the Mujahideen group.
Department of Monitoring
Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiyev poisoned
© Kavkaz Center
February 13, 2011 12:19 Emirate time
Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiyev has been urgently hospitalized. He believes he had been poisoned.
Khazbiyev felt sick the night before. During the night his condition was stable, but during the day he began to lose consciousness. An ambulance took him to a Moscow clinic.
Doctors are trying to establish the diagnosis. Magomed himself believed he was poisoned in a Moscow cafe, where he held a meeting.
“Two strange men were sitting near our table and watching us. As soon as our meeting ended, they also stood up and left the cafe. I tried to finish my dish, but I couldn’t,” Magomed Khazbiyev told Novaya Gazeta newspaper.
It is to be recalled Magomed Khazbiyev is a Member of the Expert Council under the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, and an editor of Ingushetiya.ru website.
The former owners of the site, Magomed Yevloyev and Maksharip Aushev, were killed in 2008 and 2009. These murders have not yet investigated.
Department of Monitoring
Russia to boost Kuril defense to ward off war
© RIA Novosti
By Ilya Kramnik
February 11, 2011
Russia’s unresolved conflict with Japan over the Kuril Islands, which has been simmering since WWII, may reach a boiling point now that Russian authorities are set to go ahead with their plan to build up the disputed territory’s defense potential.
The plan, unveiled by President Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as part of a comprehensive development program for Russia’s Pacific Coast, envisages, among other things, the deployment of modern armaments to defend the country’s eastern borders against a hypothetical military attack.
The Kuril dispute is, in a sense, similar to the one Britain had with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. This latter conflict ended in a brief war, preceded by years of diplomacy and numerous attempts to implement joint economic projects. Argentina’s government had used the Falkland issue all along as a tool for shifting public attention away from domestic problems and onto a struggle against an external enemy.
It would be wrong to draw any direct parallels between today’s Japan and the Argentina of the 1950-1980s. But in the rapidly changing world, the South Kuril Islands, referred to by the Japanese as the Northern Territories, may well be chosen one day as a soft target by Russia’s eastern neighbor, seeking to vent out aggression.
The archipelago’s attractiveness as a politicking tool will become more apparent to Tokyo if Moscow continues to drag its feet on the upgrading and expansion of the Russian Pacific Coast’s economic and military infrastructure. The defense capabilities of that area could be enhanced by sending in new warships and aircraft, building airfields and launching grounds, and, most importantly, by deploying competent personnel who could remain on the ground on a permanent basis rather than working under seasonal, back-to-back schemes.
Analyzing the developments that led to the Falkland war, one can say in retrospect that the Argentine government’s decision to launch a military operation was prompted by a dramatic weakening of Britain’s armed forces, notably the Royal Navy, in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. The British had by then written off most of their ageing big-sized warships without replacing them with new vessels, and this weakened the country’s aircraft carrier fleet. As a result, the Navy found itself without modern aircraft carriers, and had to make do with ships designed to carry aircraft with vertical takeoff only.
Russia’s defense arsenal in the Far East
Similarly, Russia’s defense arsenal is not at its strongest these days. In conventional armaments, Japan now enjoys numerical supremacy over the Russian Far Eastern forces, and it also boasts a higher percentage of modern hardware in the navy, the air force, and the army.
In the Kuril Islands, homeland defense relies on a single machine gun artillery division (incidentally, this is the only division remaining in the country’s ground forces, with all the others already reconfigured into brigades). But this unit can hardly provide efficient defense on its own, without any support from AF, ABM, and Navy forces.
Clearly, the deployment of additional service personnel in the Kuril Islands will not make the Russian Pacific Coast better protected against a potential military attack. It is a qualitative change that needs to be brought about.
It is vitally important to improve the archipelago’s infrastructure, which would enable the Air Force and the Navy to act more effectively in the Pacific area.
Russia’s ageing Pacific Fleet, where most of the ships currently in service will have to be scrapped in the next 15 years, needs urgent refitting. The fleet has already been pledged two French-made Mistral ships, but that is not enough. It also needs new corvettes and frigates to perform tasks ranging from escorting bigger vessels to combating submarines and providing support for paratroopers.
Another key priority is to enhance the Air Force presence off Russia’s Pacific Coast and to restore the permanent deployment of a combat jet fleet on the Sakhalin Island. This will make Russia better equipped for a prompt response.
The construction of a forward-based airfield in the Kuril Islands would let us have a squadron of jet fighters on standby. But there is no point in creating a permanent air base here, since such a base will be too vulnerable to potential enemy attacks.
The deployment of multifunctional and combat helicopters is one more possibility to consider.
Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war)
All these plans to reinforce the Kuril Islands’ defense potential should be translated into reality so as to discourage the most radical of Japanese politicians from contemplating regaining the possession of the South Kuril Islands through the use of military force.
Luckily for Russia, there is no imminent threat. At the moment, Japan seems to be more concerned about the intra-Korean conflict, which puts its national security in jeopardy, as well as by the growing military might of its old arch rival, China.
A dramatic buildup of Russia’s defense capabilities in the Kuril Islands could make Japanese politicians put this long-running territorial dispute on the backburner and concentrate on more urgent challenges to its homeland security.
It should be kept in mind that no military arsenal, however strong, can provide adequate national defense unless there is a political will. Yet, even relatively modest armed forces can make a difference if political and military leaders are really determined to uphold the interests and the dignity of their country.
In 1982, the U.K. managed to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine occupation. That British campaign proved a success thanks primarily to the tough line maintained by Margaret Thatcher and her government.
The Russian authorities are facing a different challenge today, one that is simpler and trickier at the same time. They need to demonstrate – without resorting to military force – their determination to uphold Russia’s interests and its territorial integrity. And doing so in such a way that no ill-wisher would want to put that resolve to test.
Ilya Kramnik is RIA Novosti’s military commentator. The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
USA’s 2011 National Military Strategy: We’ve got the power!
By Sergei Balmasov
February 10, 2011
The USA has unveiled the 2011 National Military Strategy for the first time in seven years. The strategy, as usual, serves for the preservation of the U.S. predominance in the world. The appearance of the document is based on recent major changes on the planet. The authors of the strategy pointed out a number of challenges for the United States in particular and for the Western civilization in general.
U.S. strategists claimed that the shortage of resources in the world may trigger territorial disputes, which poses a direct threat to American interests. They are also concerned about the fact that the national debt of the United States “poses a significant national security risk.”
All of that is aggravated with a whole list of unsolved problems, which have become even more serious during the recent years. First and foremost, “the world’s preeminent power” has not been able to defeat terrorism and extremism. The war in Afghanistan continues, and the fire of Afghan unrest is spreading into neighboring Pakistan. The strategists of the U.S. national security wrote that terrorists had nested on the Arabian Peninsula, in the countries of north-western Africa and in Somalia.
Nevertheless, the authors of the document said: “We will be prepared to find, capture, or kill violent extremists wherever they reside when they threaten interests and citizens of America and our allies.” Therefore, it is not ruled out that the world will soon witness the USA launching another military adventure in the above-mentioned territories.
Secondly, the USA is concerned about the rising powers, India and China, as well as other regional powerful countries. The Americans are especially worried about China and its defense preparations in the Taiwan Strait.
In this connection, the Pentagon is not going to reduce its attention to South Asia and the Far East. However, the USA does not exclude increasing its military presence in potentially dangerous directions. “With partner nation support, we will preserve forward presence and access to the commons, bases, ports, and airfields commensurate with safeguarding our economic and security interests worldwide,” the strategy runs. Here, it goes about such old allies as Japan and South Korea.
Thirdly, the nuclear proliferation issue remains unsolved as well. North Korea has proved the possession of nuclear weapons to the whole world. Iran is just about to do the same. “The prospect of multiple nuclear armed regimes in the Middle East with nascent security and command and control mechanisms amplifies the threat of conflict, and significantly increases the probability of miscalculation or the loss of control of a nuclear weapon to non-state actors,” the document says.
To solve the problem, Washington intends to support regional allies, like Iraq, to develop the missile defense system, which Russia vehemently objects to, and to take defense measures against those violating the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The USA must be prepared to eliminate sources of weapons of mass destruction, the document runs.
Fourthly, by 2025, Washington predicts serious destabilization in a number of developing states because of the ongoing demographic explosion. The population of those countries will grow by 1.2 billion people, which will lead to serious food and water problems. “Conversely, in Europe and parts of Asia, populations are projected to decline and age with long term impacts to the global share of their economic output. Population growth and urbanization in the Middle East, Africa, and South Central Asia will contribute to increased water scarcity and may present governance challenges,” the report says.
In other words, the American supremacy is facing many challenges on different continents. One shall pay attention to the following telling phrase: “In this multi-nodal world, the military’s contribution to American leadership must be about more than power – it must be about our approach to exercising power.”
Thus, the U.S. National Military Strategy must be flexible to take account of all serious changes in the world. That is why the USA must be prepared to dealing with modern-day challenges without allies’ help.
“Let us not forget, the Nation remains at war abroad to defend against and defeat threats to our homeland. Our foremost priority is the security of the American people, our territory, and our way of life.” “We will pursue deliberate acquisition process improvements and selective force modernization with the cost effective introduction of new equipment and technology,” the report says.
U.S. strategists point out the necessity to maintain high prestige of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to the document, the state must continue to pay increased attention to improving the well-being of its defenders. “Just as our Service members commit to the Nation when they volunteer to serve, we incur an equally binding pledge to return them to society as better citizens. We must safeguard Service members’ pay and benefits, provide family support, and care for our wounded warriors,” the report runs.
Needless to say that the Americans could not leave Russia out of their attention. On the one hand, the document declares the intention to develop military partnership, continue the reduction of arms and build security in Central Asia in cooperation with Russia. As for the Asian security, the Americans, most likely, are planning to get Russia involved in the Afghan war.
The new strategy also mentions more important things about Russia. For instance, the USA is going to continue its cooperation with Canada regarding the issues of regional security, such as the development of the Arctic region. It is an open secret that Russia claims its right on the Arctic shelf, which infuriates Canada in the first place.
Here is another, rather expressive statement: “NATO members act as a stabilizing force on its perimeter, which ranges from the Middle East and the Levant, Northern Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.” One shall assume that the Americans will continue to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs.
The authors of the new National Military Strategy are certain that the USA will preserve its economic and defense power in the foreseeable future. The USA still places its stake on brutal military force, which, as the authors of the report say, will contribute to America’s security and prosperity in the 21st century.