Chechen Lessons for Iraq

The beginning of Anna Badhken’s new article in the Boston Globe comparing the Chechen and Iran conflicts is effusively naively in thinking that Russia’s problems in the Caucasus have been solved, nevertheless the discussion merits some interesting comparisons.

The back history of the conflict in Chechnya — nearly 300 years of relentless opposition to the oppressive Russian rule — is radically different from that of Iraq. But the efforts by Washington and by the Kremlin to extricate themselves from their respective wars follow an uncomfortably similar pattern: Prop up a relatively amenable government and hand over to it the responsibility to quash rebellion; pour money into reconstruction projects, ignoring the ensuing corruption and graft; tolerate human rights violations in the name of relative political stability; accept occasional flare-ups of an Islamic rebellion; and declare — or, in the case of the United States, strive to declare — the end of major military operations.