Observers might disagree about what to call the situation in tiny Ingushetia, a federal republic in Russia's North Caucasus wracked by an increasingly bloody Islamist insurgency. But whether the violence that has claimed hundreds of lives in the past few years qualifies as a civil war, a colonial war, a war on terror, or just persistent instability, one thing almost everyone agrees on is that Ingushetia increasingly displays the features of a failed state.
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the small territory's dysfunctional security forces. Deteriorating relations between Russian federal authorities and the local police in Ingushetia recently reached an open level of distrust. Soon after Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was attacked by a suicide bomber in June 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on the federal Interior Ministry to reinforce the Ingush police with officers from other parts of Russia, and to test the local police for professional competence.
Federal security services and local Ingush policemen have clashed with each other on a number of occasions. Clashes also took place between the Ingush police and police from neighboring Chechnya, when the latter habitually carried out what they called counterterrorist operations in Ingush territory.