Chechnya Sends Russia Packing

In a one-year and a half war for independence that resulted in an estimated 80,000 civilian deaths, with the signing of the peace accord the Chechens have finally achieved a modicum of the freedom they sought. However, the stumbling blocks to Russia granting the Chechens complete independence remain the same as they were at the outset of the war: Islamic beliefs and oil. Reluctant to let go of a republic whose Islamic majority seek to establish a shariah government fearing a domino effect in the remaining Muslim-majority areas of the country, Russia served her own best interests by holding onto Chechnya. Though the resistance to the Russian invasion of the Caucasus has continued unabated by the Chechens and Daghestanis since the time of Shaykhs Mansur and Shamil, the Russians have steadfastly hung on to this vital area. It is no surprise that now as then, the primary reason for holding these Muslim lands in its sway is strategic. The fact is, Chechnya lies between "Mother Russia" and the vast oil reserves of the Caspian. And if in the long run, Russia turns hungry eyes on the oil-rich lands of Iran and the Persian Gulf, it will need this corridor through the Caucasus to funnel troops and materiel.  

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