Islamic militants add to Russian woes in deadly attack on Chechen capitol. Islamic Militants commandeered three cars from the nearby village of Shalazhi at 1 a.m on the morning of December 4 and turned the area around and inside the Grozny House of Publishing into a war zone. This is what the 10 story Grozny House of Publishing looked like before the heavily armed group launched this deadly assault in the heart of the Chechen Capitol. The building is now a charred shell.
Imarat Kavkazan took responsibility for the assault and is an Islamic Militant group officially deemed an illegal terrorist organization by the Russian Federation. Anywhere from 10 to 15 Islamic militants initially crashed a traffic police checkpoint in the city and killed three policemen before descending on the House of Publishing and occupying the location. A raging inferno eventually carved out the inside of the Publishing House, urging the terrorists out of the building and prompting them to occupy a nearby school. Russia’s National Anti-terrorism Committee reported that six of the Islamic Militants were killed inside the building before the fighting moved to a market, then continued inside School No. 20, which is near the initial confrontation with Russian security forces. As the fighting continued on into the early morning hours and a full-scale anti-terrorism campaign was dispatched, the battle escalated to involve fire from heavy machine guns mounted on armored personnel carriers and rocket-propelled grenades being fired into the school. No students or teachers were present at the hour of the attacks, but by the time the insurrection was quelled 10 Islamic militants and 14 police were killed in addition to another 28 policemen wounded.
Islamic Militants add to Russian woes in deadly attack on Chechen Capitol and the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya is no stranger to Islamic militants launching these deadly attacks. On October 5th of this year, a suicide bomber struck the capitol, killing five police officers and injuring 12 more. There has been a persistent history of unrest in Chechnya in the years since the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., including the First and Second Chechen Wars, plus numerous terrorist attacks. However, this recent assault was the most significant incident since a raid on Nalchik in 2005 and serves as a grim expression that the danger Islamic militants pose in Chechnya is not a closed front, but remains an ever-present threat along Russia’s southern border.
This somber reminder comes at a time when Russia is facing a host of woes ranging from unrest in neighboring Ukraine over the annexation – or reclamation, from Russia’s point of view – of the Crimean peninsula, as well as increasing economic instability due to subsequent sanctions by the U.S. Capital flight that has begun to take hold in Russia due to this economic instability. Tensions with western nations are producing added stress on the trade economy too. The most notable recent economic strain comes from the reduction of oil revenues which comprised a healthy portion of Russia’s overall income last year, almost 70 percent. While shale fracking in the US is helping to reduce the cost of gas for Americans, the added pressure of a decision by OPEC to not reduce production in light of the American output has left the price of oil far lower than in recent years and will dramatically impact Russia’s economy moving forward. With the current climate of the Russian economy, Islamic militants add to Russian woes in deadly attack on Chechen capitol.
By Christopher G. Jones