Guide Allahs Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya

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View all 9 comments. View 1 comment. May 07, Shaun rated it did not like it Shelves: did-not-finish. It contains a lot of information and is incredibly interesting but I think Sebastian Smith is entirely too close to his subject material and as such incapable of presenting a truly critical analysis of the situation in Chechnya. He is entirely unwilling to offer any real criticism of the Chechens and their position. I found him overly defensive of the Chechens, in that I think he wants the conflict and violence to be Russia's fault and finds whatever evidence, no matter how flimsy to exonerate t It contains a lot of information and is incredibly interesting but I think Sebastian Smith is entirely too close to his subject material and as such incapable of presenting a truly critical analysis of the situation in Chechnya.

I found him overly defensive of the Chechens, in that I think he wants the conflict and violence to be Russia's fault and finds whatever evidence, no matter how flimsy to exonerate the Chechens of any wrong doing in the war, specifically the events leading up to it. View 2 comments.

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Amazing Book. Mar 30, Kawing rated it it was amazing. Must have been the most exciting book about the Russian Caucasus and the 1st Chechen war. Author was one of the few who stayed to report and witness the whole Chechen war - which is a shame that for the 2nd Chechen war it will be impossible to find such an account such to Russian censorship and real danger.

The book focuses on accounts from the side of the Chechen rebels, and one might criticised the author for mostly being on the side of the Chechens; but then the war was that romantic, after a Must have been the most exciting book about the Russian Caucasus and the 1st Chechen war. The book focuses on accounts from the side of the Chechen rebels, and one might criticised the author for mostly being on the side of the Chechens; but then the war was that romantic, after all it was a victory of a small people against a world superpower and they did it in the most spectacular way.

But don't be mistaken, his account about the other parts of the north Caucasus was equally, if not more, interesting. Thoroughly enjoyed this, highly recommend for those interested. Jan 29, Janosch rated it it was ok. Let me sum up the content of this book for you: "I don't like Russia. OMG Russia is so bad. What I don't love is biased people who just hate on other countries, like Mr. Smith does. That doesn't exclude itself, even though some people might think so.

I am a strong believer of t -. I am a strong believer of the good in people and that we all can leave peacefully side by side.

First Chechen War

Sadly there are people who have a bias and a hatred towards other countries, like the author has. TL:DR: Biased book, don't read it. Feb 02, Brett Chapman rated it really liked it Shelves: chechen-studies. Good book and worth a read. At times it can be a bit choppy and lacking fluidity, but the overall picture is great. Starts from the beginning and leads into the current conflict of the late 90s.

- Document - Allah's Mountains: the Battle of Chechnya

It is also a story of the history, people and cultures of the Caucasus and of tiny ethnic groups struggling for both physical and cultural survival. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. A mixture of travelogue, history and war journalism, Allah's Mountains tells the story of the conflict between this nation of mountain tribes and the might of the Russian army. Customer Reviews.

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Even a new world-class mosque, the largest in Europe, capable of accommodating up to ten thousand people, has been built. I once had real hope for Chechnya.

Shamil Basayev was killed by a truckload of his own explosives in July The next year, kidnappings were down, and attacks on Russian forces and the Chechen government were fewer. Chechnya was quickly being rebuilt, there were fewer than a hundred fighters he said left in the mountains, and the decade-old KTO Counterterror Operations regime had come to an end. I was told that I could finally go for a visit.

But within a month suicide bombers were back at work in the heart of Grozny. Kidnappings had reached epidemic proportions by the summer twice as many as in Murders like that of Natasha and Rizvan soared. Violence again spiraled out of control. The Chechen woman has been on the front lines of battle since Each has experienced her own kind of pain, but all are the true casualties and principal victims of these bloody wars.

But today her wartime contributions are underappreciated. Violence against women is accepted, even encouraged in certain instances, and is definitely on the rise. Anyone who has read The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror knows that I have no sympathy for those who seize theater-goers and schoolchildren as hostages, take the lives of innocent young people at rock concerts, or blow up Russian passenger planes full of people. I was asked in a interview with Russian Profile magazine why Chechen women do these horrible things— Are they all desperate housewives widowed by Russian soldiers killing for personal revenge?

The reader will see that the answer is infinitely more complex, that it has as much to do with why Wolves adopted suicide terror to fight Russia in the first place as it does with why women carry it out. But this endless Jihad and the circle of violence in which Natasha became trapped is perpetuating it.

I believe that people have become more terrified of Little Stalin and his secret police than they are of the Jihadists. The Chechens are a warm and wonderful people, with rich traditions. They prize freedom, work hard, and have strong blood and family ties. But that process can be hastened if the Chechen woman is allowed to play her rightful role. The advertiser was surely dreaming of the beautiful, kind-hearted, tender, affectionate, caring, and unselfish bride so romantically described in Chechen literature and tradition. I doubt that he ever found his girl.

If he had, she would have been considerably more complex than he could have ever imagined. She is the mat ogni, keeper of the home fires, guardian of the hearth, while her husband is the traditional breadwinner and head of the family. The kitchen is her chief domain. It is forbidden turf; I begin to feel uncomfortable even standing there talking to her about it. She is also the traditional guardian of peace. Tradition says that the Chechen woman has a remarkable power to prevent bloodshed between two Chechen men by simply removing her shawl from her shoulders or throwing her handkerchief to the ground.

Teenage girls have stopped fights between romantic suitors this way, just as a Chechen woman is supposed to have the power to stop a blood feud. Military combatants are also supposed to stop fighting if a woman appears on the battlefield. We believe that women are more valuable than men, as reflected in the proverb that the life of a woman is worth two men, Dr.

As long as she conforms to her expected roles, the Chechen woman commands respect and honor in traditional Chechen society.

Zalpa Bersanova, a Chechen ethnographer, in described respect for women as the secondmost sacred Chechen value. The moral behavior of both men and women is the first. Men traditionally rise to their feet to greet a woman; shaking hands, though, is taboo. They will offer her a seat but may themselves remain standing, as many Chechen men are nervous in female company. This is particularly true in the company of in-laws, out of fear of doing something that might be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. Disrespect will bring him disgrace.

Tradition also says that Chechen men are bound to protect the honor of a woman. This is illustrated by an old tale about a man who asks a woman for overnight shelter without realizing that she is home alone. Tradition prohibits her from refusing, so she serves him dinner and makes a bed for him. In the morning, the man realizes that the woman is alone and has stayed awake all night. To protect her honor, the man cuts off his finger before leaving.

She told a video camera before driving her explosives-laden truck into a Russian police enclave in Alkhan-Kala, Our forefathers would have killed anyone who tried to touch their women, but today Muslim women are getting attacked and raped in front of those who claim to be men—they have no sense of jealously for the honor of their Muslim sisters to the extent that they sit [at home] and drink tea while listening to this appalling news.

Do you consider yourselves men? The four women who were elected to the Chechen parliament on 27 November are also exceptions. A little Chechen girl is taught at an early age ethical norms, customs, and etiquette regarding her proper role in the family and society.

She grows up knowing that she must be the weaker of the sexes, to be subordinate to the male, to know that her husband will be the head of the household and the most important person in the family, and that her wishes and ambitions must always come second. This helps explain why so many Chechen men are reluctant to marry girls who come from fatherless families, especially in this day and time.

The tradition still prevails in some high mountain regions, where neither the woman nor the children are allowed to sit down and eat at the same table with the man. He eats first, the children second, and the mother last. If the husband has male friends over, his wife will usually not sit down with them, even if politely invited to do so. The woman is obliged instead to bring finely prepared dishes of food from the kitchen and attend to the guests.

If men are talking in public and the topic turns to male conversation or politics, the Chechen woman will likely excuse herself. During Soviet times it was dangerous for a woman to overhear a conversation about politics. It still is.