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The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad (Praeger Security International) Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0313386343 ISBN-10: 031338634X Edition: 1st

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The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad (Praeger Security International) + Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat + A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya
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Product Details

  • Series: Praeger Security International
  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1 edition (February 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031338634X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313386343
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

"Schaefer’s debut is an in-depth critical assessment of the Russo-Chechen conflict that reflects a deep understanding of counterinsurgency in general and how it relates to that region specifically. Although the Russian government officially declared an end to the Second Chechen War in 2009, the insurgency in the North Caucasus is far from over, according to Schaefer. In clear, layman-friendly prose, he argues convincingly and meticulously that Russia’s strategy failures stem from a vital misunderstanding of the nature of Chechen resistance; the Russian government’s insistence that Chechen rebels are less resistance fighters than they are mere terrorist criminals is a misinterpretation that, in Schaefer’s view, has led to the misapplication of counterterrorist tactics that not only failed to quell the Chechen resistance movement while the war was on, but have allowed it to regroup in the last two years. Schaefer, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces, wields his military and foreign policy expertise handily, building his arguments from the rudiments up so that casual readers can easily follow while also scoring insights that ought to make this work indispensable to more interested actors and observers. He provides invaluable context by explaining the nature of insurgencies and terrorist acts, details the long history of regional power struggles (and particularly the protracted hostilities between Russians and various North Caucasian ethnic groups) and analyzes the extent to which certain Islamic sects have shaped the conflict and motivated insurgents’ causes. At root, Schaefer’s argument is that the Russian approach, in deviation from Western standards, puts too little emphasis on political strategies to combat the insurgency, instead relying on vastly superior firepower in an attempt to break the Chechens, who have been waging a campaign without an end-game strategy and are destined to fail as long as Russia’s interest in the region remains strong. Whether or not Schaefer’s conclusions are persuasive, his reasoning is honest, well-researched and refreshingly free of partisan rhetoric. A tour de force in breadth and depth."

Named to Kirkus Reviews "Best of 2011"
Winner of the USA Book News 2011 Best Book Award for Current Events
Winner of the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Award for Foreign Affairs (Bronze)
Winner of the 2012 Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal for History
Named to the "Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism" by the Terrorism Research Initiative

Review

“A remarkable book ... Col Schaefer’s book does a fine job in summarizing the breadth and depth of the conflict, and making the latest military thinking about insurgencies accessible, while steering clear of polemic or bias. This book tells you a lot about the Caucasus. And also about the brainpower assets of the American military." -- The Economist.

"enormously helpful in understanding the ongoing conflict in the North Caucasus, and the gnawing feeling of dread as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics … free of cynicism and romance … It makes one wish military analysts had taken on the Afghan puzzle with similar energy, say, a decade or so back." -- The New York Times

"a first-rate study that is part history, part counterinsurgency theory, and part predictive analysis…The North Caucasus is a complex and bewildering ethnic and cultural mix that is hard for a foreigner to understand. Robert Schaefer has done much to overcome this through his thorough research and balanced approach. His history of the region and the post-Soviet phase is especially well done…strongly recommend -- Journal of Military History

"Scrupulously researched" -- The National Interest

“Incisive, insightful – in short, invaluable.” -- Liz Fuller, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Caucasus Report

Thoughtful and comprehensive analysis … useful to the policymaker … helps answer the paradox that most of those who have studied the region grappled with: Why have the Russians never succeeded in extinguishing this 300-year old insurgency while, at the same time, the Chechens have never been able to win their independence? -- Parameters

"comprehensive and informative … Schaefer’s informed analysis of the Chechen insurgency makes this a book that every student of counterinsurgency or the Caucasus region should own." -- Military Writers Society of America

"Demystifies our longest running graduate-level conflict."
-- Col. "Nick" Pratt, USMC (ret.), Director of the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies, G.C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

"A 'must read' for those who are looking for answers about how to stop the brutality and violence in Southern Russia." -- The New Book Review

More About the Author

NBC's on-air Security Analyst for their official coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Robert Schaefer is a U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret), Foreign Area Officer, senior analyst, and diplomat specializing in the Eurasia region. For over twenty seven years he has served in a variety of special units and participated in virtually every U.S. overseas operation since 1990. He has extensive experience with counterinsurgency and counter-terrorist operations around the world and has lived and worked in many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as a diplomat and adviser to foreign governments and militaries. He is uniquely qualified to analyze the conflict in the North Caucasus because of his first-hand experience planning and executing counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations in the Caucasus region.

Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Schaefer is the recipient of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and the Office of Strategic Services Society's Award of Excellence (The Singlaub Award) as the U.S. Special Operations Command Person of the Year for his historic achievements with Russian airborne forces. He obtained his M.A. from Harvard University's Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia program, and is the host of National Public Radio's Memorial Day Special 2007 - 2013.

He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Caucasus Survey (a peer-reviewed professional journal), as well as a consultant to several government agencies, universities, and a frequent contributor to major media outlets (CNN, NPR, BBC, VOA, and others) and seminars focusing on Russia, Chechnya, Dagestan, and the North Caucasus insurgency. His critically-acclaimed book "The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus" won multiple national awards and was named to Kirkus Reviews "Best of 2011," and the "Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism" (the only book about the conflict to make the list). He has also contributed a chapter to an anthology entitled, "The Fire Below, How the Caucasus Changed Russia," (Bloomsbury, 2013), and was a contributor to "Operation Homecoming" (Random House, 2006).

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Robert Schaefer's book on the insurgency in Chechnya is comprehensive and informative.
Ed Cox
I would recommend this book to any serious student of modern conflict, counterinsurgency, or anyone who has a strong interest in the region.
B. O'Connor
Overall I consider the book a very informative read, my only criticism is that I'd like to see more maps.
mchevalier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Hunt on December 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Beginning this book as a complete novice on the subject, I now feel as though I have completed a graduate seminar on insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus. Author Robert W. Schaefer meticulously examines and explains a problematic historical conflict in a little understood region. I appreciate that what is typically a difficult topic is painstakingly elucidated through the lens of an expert. Schaefer's study delivers the breadth and substance of a doctoral dissertation, with a refreshingly accessible structure and tone. The book's comprehensive framework and historical context are bolstered by the author's first-hand experience. Simply illuminating!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. Bunn on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was a bit skeptical at first - after all, another book on Chechnya, what else is there to say? Wow, was I wrong. This book is not another re-hashing of the events or even a solid military analysis of battles and tactics, this book is a re-conceptualization of the entire conflict - a re-conceptualization that should have been done long ago. Perhaps it requires a certain amount of time and distance to pass before a conflict can be seen for what it really is; perhaps it takes a counterinsurgency expert to drill down to the bottom of a conflict and lay it all out for us before we can really see what's going on. Regardless, that's exactly what this book does. There is clarity here - and if ever there was a conflict that needed clarity -- needed a sword to cut through the Kavkaskii Uzel (Caucasian Knot) -- it's the insurgency in the Caucasus. Schaefer is able to achieve this clarity because, as he states from the beginning, he uses an "amoral" approach to the analysis. He's not interested in the "right" or "wrong" of a particular action as much as he is interested in showing how that action (insurgent, terrorist, police, military or political) either feeds the fire or helps to make the area more secure. Every serious student of Russia, the Caucasus, or counterinsurgency should read this book. Moreover, we would all be served best if the journalists covering the conflict read this book before making pronouncements or deciding how to report a story.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. O'Connor on December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In writing this book, LTC Robert Schaefer continues his legacy of service. I have recently completed my second reading of "The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad," and I may seriously consider going through it a third time. The multiple readings were necessary because this book is so full of information and insight. I have read other books on the lingering situation in the North Caucasus; however, nothing I have previously read approaches the historical information provided in this book. The transition from the provision of an objective history of the region and the historically-shaped perspective on the current situation is seamless. In fact, the objectivity with which LTC Schaefer wrote this book may also be one of its strongest points. His ability to divorce himself from a nation-centric perspective while analyzing this conflict makes this book nearly unique amongst its peers. However, at no time does the book have the hollow ring of an overly academic text--the author's experiences are reflected throughout. Perhaps out of subjective bias, I was most impressed with the portions pertaining to internationally-recognized laws of conflict and rules of engagement. I would recommend this book to any serious student of modern conflict, counterinsurgency, or anyone who has a strong interest in the region. Be forewarned, however, this is neither light nor brief reading; it is a serious text overflowing with information and lessons for anyone who is interested in the subject matter.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By joy on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book to gain a deeper understanding about the complexity of US relationships and foreign policy in relation to Russia and the Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, as well as satisfy my curiosity about covert operations. Reading this book was helpful in achieving both of these goals for me, and more. I absolutely love the way it is written and am engaged in every chapter. There is in-depth research, thought-provoking analysis, and respect for the reader.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ethan S. Burger on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Greetings:

This book is GREAT. I finished it in two days. I have been following the Russian-Chechen conflict since the Soviet Union's break-up, and found this book to be the most insightful to come out in years on the topic.

The framework (which is a great pedagogical tool -- although I am not in complete agreement with it), diagrams, and description are outstanding. Often in my own work (the French experience in Algeria or the U.S. experience in Viet Nam) I have used similar frameworks and found them to be most helpful for students and professional groups.

Personally, I believe that the conflict in the Northern Caucasus will not end until the Russian elite realize that the cost of the low intensity conflict is too great to continue indefinitely. The forthcoming Winter Olympics and World Cup Games will be a nightmare for Russia.

Ethan S. Burger
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Law
Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention
University of Wollongong.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Pelletier on January 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
An amazing first-hand tell-all. I started this book with little to no knowledge of the Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus, and finished well-versed. I highly recommend this book. A+
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