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November 11, 1999 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-11

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Russian Israel removes troops,
Miltary settlers from West Bank

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 11, 1999 - 9A

Chechnya endures
ontinued bombing
MOSCOW (AP) - With its planes
nd artillery mercilessly pounding
hechny day after day, the Russian
ilitary is reveling in a rare feeling of
u*ss - even if it is still far from
inning the war.
Despite widespread early predic-
ions of disaster, the Russians have
eld the upper hand sine the fighting
egan in early September. Russian
roops occupy large parts of the
reakaway region and the main towns
re under constant attack.
Short of heavy weapons, disunited
npoorly organized, Chechen forces
* ' found it difficult to strike back
or carry out little more than hit-
nd-run attacks.
"The (Russian) military is using its
irepower superiority to the hilt,
voiding infantry engagements and
ounding the enemy from a distance,"
aid Pavel Felgenhauer, an indepen-
ent military analyst.
The key to the Russian success has
een new tactics to avoid the bloody
n try battles that inflicted big loss-
s federal forces during the 1994-
6 Chechen war, analysts say. But,
hey warn, Russian forces could soon
ecome bogged down indefinitely,
eaning more and more military and
ivilian casualties.
This time around, Russia is fighting
long-distance war. Its forces sit
round Grozny and other Chechen
owns, using planes, artillery and
ts to wear down Chechen resis-
an e. Lacking artillery or tanks,
hechen fighters have been unable to
it back.
Chechen commanders want the
ussians to storm Grozny and other
owns, believing their guerrilla fight-
rs would have the upper hand in
treet fighting - as happened in the
ast war.
Aware of that, Russian comman-
e- have made no move to attack.
that could lead to prolonged stale-
ate since the Chechens are not like-
y to leave Grozny and other towns
nless they are driven out.
"Russian forces have not managed
et to make a major breakthrough,"
aid Yevgeny Krutikov, a military ana-
yst for the Izvestia newspaper.
At the same time, the Chechens
ace major problems of their own.
,e Chechen government is in a
iWpower struggle with powerful
arlords and the small republic's
conomy is shattered after years of
war and neglect. Chechen comman-
ders admit privately their forces are
soorly organized and equipped, large-
y because of internal disunity.
Civilians are bearing the brunt of
he war despite Russian claims that
snly military targets are hit. Some
200,000 people have fled and large
sr are being depopulated, depriv-
in he Chechen forces of vital local
While the war may continue to go
well for them, the Russian forces may
sot achieve a decisive victory, ana-
lysts say. Even if Russian troops occu-
yy all of Chechnya, they are not like-
ly to end resistance for years to come.
"At 'present, Russian troops have
ulfilled the goals that were set for

in the first phase of the cam-
a n by occupying large areas. The
econd phase will be concluded after
Thechnya's complete occupation. The
bird phase will be fighting Chechen
guerrillas," said Alexander Pikayev,
n analyst at the Carnegie Foundation.
During the first Chechen war,
Russian forces occupied the republic,
but failed to crush the Chechen
forces. Just when Moscow thought it
bad won the war, the Chechens recap-
to Grozny, fighting the Russians to
With Russian public opinion tired
of the war and high casualties,
Moscow accepted a deal in 1996 that
gave the republic de facto indepen-
dence. Russian forces went back to
Chechnya in September after
Chechen-based militants invaded
Russian territory and were blamed for
a eries of apartment bombs in Russia
t claimed some 300 lives.
Chechen commanders are betting
they can outlast the Russians again.
But Russian public opinion has
been strongly behind the war this time
and the government has worked to
ensure strong support. Public support
may waiver if Russian casualties soar
and the war drags on endlessly, ana-
lysts say.
Western nations, alarmed about the
g wing civilian casualties, have
_'d Moscow to seek a peaceful set-
tlement. But the calls have been blunt-
ed by Western leaders saying they
accept Russia's right to suppress ter-
The Russian government has
shrugged off the concerns, saying
Chechnya is an internal matter. The
West has not raised the possibility of
sanctions against Moscow, which is
endent on Western financial aid.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Forced to
choose between Jewish settlers and
Palestinian demands, Prime Minister
Ehud Barak kept Israel's commitment
to the Palestinians yesterday, approving
a troop pullback from 5 percent of the
West Bank and sending soldiers to drag
Jews off an illegal hilltop encampment.
The land handover, to take place
Monday, will leave a smattering of West
Bank settlements isolated and sur-
rounded by Palestinian-controlled terri-
tory - setting the stage for more ten-
Barak has spent his four months in
office making good on promises to
revive the peace process, while reassur-
ing Jewish settlers that he sympathizes
with their mission to reclaim biblical
Palestinian and settler claims to the
same rocky hills seemed increasingly
irreconcilable, however, and scenes
televised yesterday of soldiers holding
red-faced settlers in headlocks could be

a glimpse into the future.
Soldiers moved in on Havat Maon as
light crept from Israel's coast over its
plains and up the West Bank's layered
hills. Settlers climbed on rooftops,
clung to door frames and flung them-
selves to the ground, making it harder
for the unarmed troops to forcibly evac-
uate them.
"We'll be back!" the settlers shouted
as they were driven away in buses.
The strongest resistance came from
settlers holed up in a makeshift wooden
synagogue. "Refuse orders" they chant-
ed as soldiers broke through the door.
Havat Maon is one of 42 outposts set
up over the past year to stake a claim to
as much West Bank land as possible -
and prevent the territory from being
handed over to the Palestinians as part
of peace negotiations. Barak's prede-
cessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, didn't
challenge the unauthorized settlements,
but Barak has tried to limit their con-

Under a deal with Barak, the settlers
movement had agreed to leave 12 sites
voluntarily, including Havat Maon, in
exchange for government approval of
the other 30.
But a renegade settlers group,
"Young Generation," rejected the com-
promise. In recent days, members have
carpeted the hilltop with sleeping bags,
reinforced caravans with cement and
rolled boulders into the road.
Heated confrontations with settlers
plagued the government of Yitzhak
Rabin - the man Barak describes as
his mentor - and came to a head when
a settler sympathizer murdered Rabin
in 1995. The violence made pursuing
peace with the Palestinians almost
impossible and Barak has doggedly
pursued consensus.
That may now be impossible, and he
appeared to be retreating into the con-
frontationist rhetoric that characterized
Rabin's prickly relations with the set-

Jewish settlers, forced to leave their West Bank homes by Israeli soldiers
yesterday, scream in protest of the government's decision.

Cemetery ceremony to mark Veterans Day
The Washington Post The land now owned and operated by the U.S. was renamed "Arlington House" after the Custis On June 15, 1864, Secretary of War Ec
ARLINGTON, Va. - On Veterans Day, the Army once belonged to the scourge of the Union, family's original property on the banks of the Stanton designated Arlington House and 200
nation's eyes will turn to the solemn ceremonies at Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Arlington, in Potomac, given as grant from the Earl of rounding acres a military cemetery under co
Arlington Cemetery. Now America's most hal- fact, became U.S. property only after the federal Arlington. of the Army's quartermaster general. Sh
lowed ground, it was once the burial site of last government seized it when Lee's wife failed to George Washington Parke Custis and his wife had before that decree, the first soldier - Pvt. Wil
resort for fallen soldiers. appear in person to pay $92.07 in taxes. one child, Mary. In 1831, she married a promising Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infants
Nestled in the lush rolling hills of northern But that's getting ahead of the story, which West Point graduate named Robert E. Lee. was interred at Arlington.
Virginia, the cemetery covers 612 acres and serves begins in 1778. The land now occupied by Arlington Cemetery Soon afterward, burials began at Arlingte
as the final resting place for 250,000 American The Revolutionary War was underway. Gen. might have passed peacefully to the children of soldiers who died in Washington and Alexan
veterans and their families, including two presi- George Washington led American forces in a bat- Mary Custis and Robert E. Lee and might have Va., hospitals during the war. As the conflict
dents, numerous sports heroes, dozens of famous tle for freedom against the British. John Parke remained a privately held estate with commanding tinued, Union dead were gathered from the b
generals and a handful of astronauts, scientists and Custis, son of Martha Washington by her first mar- vistas of the Washington skyline. battlefields of Bull Run, Bristol Station, Chat
entertainers. riage, bought 1,000 acres of land on the Virginia But the Civil War changed all that. and elsewhere and placed in the new nati
But during the Civil War, Arlington was a far side of the Potomac River. Lee turned down an offer to command a new cemetery, along with some Confederate dead.
more humble place, with rows of unknown dead in Three years later, during the siege of Yorktown Union army being formed to fight the seceding But the bulk of the 500 southern soldiers
ramshackle graves on a dirty field. in 1781, Custis died while serving as an aide to southern states, refusing to abandon his native buried at Arlington - many gathered arou
"You would not have wanted to have a loved one Washington. Washington then adopted two of Virginia. The Lees left Arlington House for good monument erected by the Daughters of
buried here'" said Thomas Sherlock, the ceme- Custis' children, Eleanor and George Washington on April 22, 1861, and Union forces quickly American Revolution - died in the Washin
tery's historian. "It had none of the esteem or the Parke Custis, bringing them to live with him at moved in, turning the house into a headquarters. area after the war ended.
prestige it has today ... We were burying two types Mount Vernon. Fort Myer soon was built on the land. The Lee family would once more exercis
of folks - soldiers who were unknown or soldiers The boy grew attached to his adoptive father, The government officially took over the proper- claim to the land, ultimately winninga battle i
whose families didn't have the money to return and when the Custis estate was passed on to him, ty in 1862 after Mary Lee attempted to pay feder- Supreme Court, which issued a decision esses
them to Pennsylvania or to North Carolina or to he decided to build a mansion to honor and com- al tax on the land through intermediaries but not in ly charging the federal government with tresl
Ohio." memorate the first president. Later, the mansion person. ing on private property.

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