Beslan. What can be learned?




 
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September 9th, 2004  
zyonchaos
 
 

Topic: Beslan. What can be learned?


Hi everyone,

Firstly I am going to apologise to anyone who feels offended by this post, but since we are a military forum and discussions on military tactics and so forth go on here I thought this one should go up aswell. It is not intended to distract from the needless slaughter of innocent life we have witnessed in Beslan, nor is it to promote terrorist groups thinking they can get away with these kind of acts. It is more a thread to see if anything can be learned from what has happened, which I believe a lot can be learned, but thats only my humble opinon

All information below can be located on the BBC news website, CNN europe news website and the SKY news websites. When it comes to numbers of terrorists, deaths and injured all three have slightly different figures, but they are in the same range if you see anything I have missed please reply.

Expertise in analysing terrorist attacks. As far as this goes I dont have any expertise, military wise I have served with the RAF for five years now as a Telecommunications Operator, I have no frontline experience and have never fired a rifle or pistol except on firing ranges. So if I am off on some things that is why

What could of been done differently by the military in Beslan, whether they be regular army or special forces?

The easy answer is a lot could of been done differently, but the Russians dont have as much training in large scale hostage situations as say the British (Iranian Embassy), you cant compare the two though as the British SAS train regularly in hostage release, both negotian and force. With the embassy siege they had multiple points of entry they could use, in Russia they didnt.

The fact that the terrorists targeted children was bad enough, but they did know that with children the military are less inclined to go in full tilt unlike if it were adults (I know some will disagree with me on this point, but it is what I believe to be true)

The terrorists were well prepared. They had re-grouped in a forest just outside of Beslan, before proceeding to their target. Whilst in transit they were involved in a shoot out with the local police. No confirmation on whether any police died in that contact. It has also been confirmed that some of the weapons used, were hidden in the schools gym weeks in advance (most likely whilst the school was being repared during the summer), and several of the adults were made to break up several floors in the building.

After taking the school they placed all the hostages into the schools gym and proceeded to string explosives up around the walls using tape. They attached to larger devices to the basketball hoops and also placed mines around the hostages on the floor. In the video that was released you can plainly see one of the terrorists with his foot on a pressure switch meaning if he moved his foot a bomb (possibly more than one) would detonate. The bombs were connected together by cable, whether this is just the method they used to suspend them from ceiling and basketball hoops, or they were linked so if one went off the rest did I dont know.

They were ready to die!!

It appears at one point the leader who went by the name of "The Colonel" had a mutiny on his hands which ended up with him executing one of his fellow terrorists to make a point to both his followers and the hostages. So its possible that not all the terrorists wanted the deaths of children on their hands and a peaceful end may have happened.

"The Colonel" also detonated two of the bomb vests worn by two of the female terrorists by remote control. Which shows some higher technological knowledge of bomb making.

We have two differences here on what triggered the first explosions

CNN reports that it was caused accidentaly whilst the terrorists were rearranging the bombs inside the gym

BBC reports that eye witnesses have said one of the bombs stuck to the wall with tape fell and exploded triggering the second explosion and ultimately the fire

Now I tend to go with the BBC version, as if the explosives were taped to the wall with the heat in the gym caused by so many people cooped up in there for two days it was likely that the tape just gave way from the heat and no doubt humidity from sweat

Within hours of taking the building nearly 50 children had managed to escape, Gunmen released 15 more, they later release 26 women and children
The Terrorists refused food, but did allow an ambulance to collect the bodies of the people they had already killed. Which showed they were willing to negotiate and give some concessions, but were wary of possible tactics such as drugging of the food.

They had threatened to kill 50 children for every fighter killed

They had made demands for an independant Chechnya

Was this a splinter group since the Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov denied their was any involvement by forces loyal to him?

When the explosions went off and hostages started escaping they were fired on by the terrorists, which left the military no choice but to return fire to cover them, members of the public many of which had children trapped inside the school were armed and also returned fire.
The Russian Security Official on the scene Valery Andreyev said:
" The hostages started running out of the building. The rebels opened fire in order to kill children. In order to save their lives we have also opened fire.
I would like you to know that we are not planning any storming of the building.
We are still trying to negotiate."

When firing started the security cordon (which was only set at 100m) was breached by relatives, many of them armed, who joined troops running towards the building

All in all it seems to be a very well conceived plan by the terrorists, and on the spot reactions by the military commanders on the scene. As I said at the start of this post I in know way support the terrorists or respect their actions. I do have respect for their ability to plan and carry out these attacks as I would any military force that managed this. I know that sounds contradictory, and apologise if people get confused with what I have said.
I have utmost respect for the military forces that were involved in the recovery of the hostages. The job they had is in no way enviable and I wouldnt wish that on anybody in the world no matter how well prepared or trained they are.

Finally I would like to say to the people of Beslan you have my condolences, I know that isnt much coming from somebody so far away, but know that you are not alone the members of the RAF who I am serving with out here in Bahrain were watching the news here as it happened. The common consensus was that we would quite happily join you in Beslan and swap our lives for the lives of your children

With deepest respect
Jay

p.s. thank you Redleg for your help today I knew this could be touchy thats why I contacted you first once again thank you
September 9th, 2004  
RnderSafe
 
 

Topic: Re: Beslan. What can be learned?


Quote:
Originally Posted by zyonchaos
I do have respect for their ability to plan and carry out these attacks as I would any military force that managed this.
Plan and carry out? They took hostages, immediately giving them the upper hand - they didn't stage an ambush and completely overwhelm the enemy. It's fairly simple .. get in, kill - get out. It isn't as if they had to escape with several billion dollars while hoppining on a hovering helo.

You would respect a military force that took several hundred children hostage to complete a mission objective?
September 9th, 2004  
zyonchaos
 
 

Topic: I knew that would be picked up!!


What I mean by that is they managed to have their weapons hidden in situ before they got their, those weapons were not discovered.
They made their position unobtainable for the security forces trying to rescue the hostages.

Any military force that can do those two things gets my respect. It is also time the world woke up and realised that terrorists are capable of thinking like this, of forward planning instead of thinking they are just amateurs with bombs

Sorry for any misunderstanding

Jay
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September 9th, 2004  
FlyingFrog
 
It's cat mouse play game.

Those guys are also smart guys, otherwise they have long been found and banned for ever.

Another issue is that all the common technology/weapons for the "battles" are both available to cat and mouse, this makes the "game" a bit more balanced and more difficult to win.
September 9th, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Well, more than anything, Russia is gaining in experience with terrorism. The more they deal with terrorist threats, the better their capability to respond will be. Among the best anti-terrorist organizations in the world is the SAS. They got good because they've been actively engaged in anti-terrorism longer than anyone.

For some of the prior Chechen attacks, some Americans sympathized with the Chechens. I hope the US has learned to be more compassionate of Russia and its own terrorist problems now.
September 10th, 2004  
FlyingFrog
 
Well when you are gaining in experience with terrorism, the terrorists are gaining in experience with anti-terrorism too.
September 11th, 2004  
zyonchaos
 
 
Unfortunately for us you are right Flyingfrog. As can be seen by the actions of the terrorists in Beslan, the way they used the children to block the windows to deter snipers, and the way the bombs were rigged to blow at the slightest sign of forced entry by the military. Its making our job a lot harder to combat these kinds of people.
Can anyone remember when terrorists actually tried to escape after bombing something, instead of wanting to die?

Jay
September 11th, 2004  
Redleg
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zyonchaos
Can anyone remember when terrorists actually tried to escape after bombing something, instead of wanting to die?
Sevral of them did try to escape from the school, and hid in a nearby building.
But it didn't last long.
September 11th, 2004  
zyonchaos
 
 
Point taken Redleg you would think Id know that after writing the post to begin with lol
I did mean however when they werent so willing to die to get their messages across
Sorry
Jay
September 13th, 2004  
Debz
 
Sorry for any misunderstanding

hey dude. dont be sorry you have made a good point. these people are not just idiots with amo they are clever and they are willing to wait and plot carefully. i think we have misjudged terrorists alot, they arent just mindless killers they are clever killers which is a whole new ball game
and a scary one at that

debz