Bashkortostan Caucasus Emirate Chechnya Dagestan Global Jihad Global Jihadism Ingushetiya Islamism Jihadism Kabardino-Balkariya Karachaevo-Cherkessiya Putin Russia

Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report 21

Photo russian_mosque

August 16, 2010



* IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Leonid Naboishchikov, Daniel Painter, Fabian Sievert, and Daria Ushakova.



Gordon M. Hahn, Editor and Founder of IIPER

          The recent debacle over CE amir ‘Abu Usman’ Dokku Umarov’s resignation followed his retraction of that resignation a day later has sparked much reporting and analysis, some more informed than others.  The following is IIPER’s contribution to this discussion

Prelude to the Crisis: Umarov Appoints His Designated Successor

On July 24th, CE-affiliated website Kavkaz tsentr posted an announcement that CE amir Abu Usman Dokku Umarov had appointed Aslambek Vadalov as his naib and successor.  Up until this appointment Vadalov was amir of the CE’s Eastern Front in Chechnya, what the mujahedin now refer to as Nokchicho Vilaiyat.

This move could be a sign that Russian and Chechen forces have been so hot on the heels of the amir that he has decided to prepare for his demise.  The announcement indicated that Umarov took the decision “after thorough considerations and in connection with the importance of continuity of power and the necessity to be prepared any development in the situation.”  Security forces have eliminated numerous top amirs and operatives so far this, as IIPER has reported.  Previously Supyan Abdullaev was Umarov’s naib.  It remains unclear whether he remains a naib, with Aslambek assuming the status of first naib.

The announcement also noted that Umarov “called upon the mujahedin to approve his choice” and in the case of his own death “the amirs of the mujahedin and valis of the vilaiyats of the Caucasus Emirate should take the oath to Amir Aslambek and be subordinated to him as long as Amir Aslambek himself submits to Allah’s Shariah and holds to the Prophet Mohammed’s Sunna.”[1]

Umarov also appointed amir ‘Mansur’ Hussein Gakaev as vali and presumably amir of the CE’s virtual province Nokchicho Vilaiyat (Chechnya).[2]  Gakaev is promoted from his post as deputy commander of the CE’s Eastern Sector/Front.  The announcement of the appointment came just days after a video and an article by the then Eastern Front deputy commander appeared debunking Russian security organs’ and media claims about the killing of Arab mercenary Abu Halid and amir of the of the village of Tevzan in Vedeno district, Ilman Estamirov, noting that they are both still alive.  Gakaev also states that in one news report on Abu Walid, a photograph of the Arabic OAE national, Al Qa`ida emissaryand CE deputy (naib) military amir Abu Anas Muhannad was used.[3]  In June, a Chechen law enforcement official told a Kavkaz uzel correspondent that ‘Mansur’ Hussein, his brother Muslim Gakaev, and Muhannad were among top priority targets and that in recent days they had killed 12 mujahedin from their ranks.  Muslim declared in spring 2009 that he had prepared 20 suicide bombers, and the security officials say he and Muhannad have been involved in preparing suicide attacks.[4]

Following these appointments, on July 30th, the Caucaus Emirate site Kavkaz tsentr published an article purportedly based on “operational sources” and corroborated by other sources asserting that the Kremlin has adopted a political and counter-insurgency strategy for the North Caucasus proposed by North Caucasus Federal District envoy and Russian deputy prime minister Aleksandr Khloponin.[5]  According to the article, in an effort to weaken or terminate the CE jihad before the 2014 Olymics in nearby Sochi, Krasnodar, Moscow has adopted a new strategy consisting of three legs: concentrating on killing amir Umarov, removing Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, and replacing him with Beslan Gantemirov.  The goal of the supposed new strategy is to cut off Chechnya from the Caucasus jihadists by beheading the Chechen jihadi leadership and further consolidating Russian proxy rule in the republic by appointing Gantamirov in place of Kadyrov and ‘promoting’ the latter to Moscow and the post of deputy chief of the MVD.  Kadyrov’s closest and “most odious” associates, such as Adam Delimkhanov and Magomad Daudov, and “under certain circumstances” perhaps Kadyrov himself, would be assassinated.  Gantamirov would then be given authority to negotiate with the less odious CE amirs, include them in a “unified government of national unity,” legalize mujahedin subunits as law enforcement units, introduce some elements of Shariah law, and terminate the repression of ‘Wahhabis.”  All this would, in the Kremlin’s ostensible view, facilitate a split within, and help break up the CE and fragment the Caucasus mujahedin.   Umarov’s elimination is seen as a central element of, and prerequisite for the implementation of this “project Gantamirov”, since he is viewed by the Kremlin as an unacceptable negotiating partner.  The information on the strategy is said to have been received in spring and corroborated by other sources, and the CE article claims counter-measures of an “organizational and personnel” nature had already been taken in response.[6]

In addition to the new strategy the article lays out, also of interest is its claim that “over the last 2 years the Russian security services undertook a series of unprecedented attempts to kill Dokku Abu Usman, in particular several unsuccessful attempts to poison the mujahedin’s Amir”, including one involving premier of the exiled Chechen Republic of Ichkeria government, Akhmed Zakaev, and a unidentified field commander loyal to him, who Zakaev subsequently reported had been killed after stepping on a landmine.[7]

Similarly, the Russian news agency Rosbalt cited a Russian unidentified security service official one day prior to the Kavkaz tsentr article who stated that Russian special services had succeeded in poisoning Umarov.  Using captured facilitators and food suppliers of the mujahedin or tainted food such persons brought to the mujahedin, including to Umarov, they killed at least 17 leading mujahedin over the last seven months, according to the source.  Moreover, in November 2009 they received information that Umarov and his inner circle had been poisoned and were sick and even dying in a location in Achkoi-Martan raion.  Russian forces bombed the area, and mujahedin bodies were found at the site of the attack.  Umarov was not among those found dead, but the source claims the CE amir was poisoned and now suffers from several illnesses as a result.[8] It will be recalled that on June 8th, CE websites reported that Yasir Amarat, an Arab amir who had worked preparing suicide bombers, was killed by poison along with eight other mujahedin in Chechnya’s Vedeno district.[9]  Chechen and Russian authorities reported that they had been killed in a shootout at a location uncovered as a result of information obtained during the interrogation of the CE’s captured military amir and G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat amir ‘Magas’ Ali Taziev (aka Akhmed Yevloev).[10]  It should also be recalled that CE leaders claimed earlier this year that CE military amir and amir of the CE’s G’alg’aiche (Ingushetia) Vilaiyat, ‘Magas’, was drugged or poisoned by “psychotropic drugs” facilitating his capture.[11]  Also, the notorious Al Qa`ida operative in the North Caucasus Ibn al-Khattab was also killed by the Russians in April 2002 reportedly using poison.

Umarov Resigns

The intrigue mounted when on August 1st, two days after the July 30th Kavkaz tsentr article acknowledged Russian attempts to poison Umarov, the CE amir resigned his post in a video message to the mujahedin of the Dagestan and G’ialg’aiche Vilaiyats and the OVKBK, claiming he was doing so for health reasons.  He tabbed his recently appointed naib and designated successor Aslambek Vadalov as the new amir.  Umarov referred to himself as “an old veteran” and claimed that, while he would continue the jihad in both word and deed, his health no longer would allow him to fulfill the duties of amir.  A younger, more energetic commander like Vadalov should head the jihad, he said.  Vadalov, seated to Umarov’s right, showed little charisma in a several sentence first statement as amir.  Seated to Umarov’s left, Abu Anas Muhannad, the Al Qa`ida operative and OAE national, offered slightly more extended remarks, referring to Umarov’s ill health and welcoming Vadalov as the new amir.  Umarov referred to Muhannad as “military amir” rather than as deputy or naib of the military amir.  Thus, it appeared that Muhannad had succeeded the CE’s captured military amir “Magas’.[12]  According to Kavkaz tsentr, an assistant of Umarov’s reported by telephone that this video message had been sent to the Dagestani, Ingushetian, and OVKBK mujahedin “for receipt of their opinion in connection with his declaration.”[13]  This suggests that Umarov was perhaps leaving open the possibility of remaining as CE amir.

More intrigue followed.  At 2:12, in the early morning hours of August 2nd, Kavkaz tsentr went down for the rest of the day claiming it had been hit by a “DOS attack” and that users might have difficulty accessing the site.  This was 35 minutes after the 1:37, August 2nd update of the original Kavkaz tsentr report on the Umarov resignation video posted on the site at 19:33 on August 1stKavkaz tsentr remained down for the rest of August 2nd.[14]  Thus, it appears that confusion reigned supreme at Kavkaz tsentr and/or CE center, and Movladi Udugov moved to seek clarification.  On August 4th another CE video made, according to Umarov, on August 2nd, appeared in which, Umarov announced he was overriding his previous statement on resignation, which had been “fabricated.”  This time, he was seated alone without Vadalov and Muhannad at his side.[15]

Two days later, on August 6th, a web letter from a “group of Muslims of the Vilaiyat Nokchicho” appealed to Umarov to remain as amir and attempted to boost his supposed low morale.  While noting the lack of any precedent in Islamic law or practice for an amir to resign from his position within the jihad, the authors respected his need to do so if his health necessitated this step.  Despite his “difficult” situation, however, they noted that there was no other amir as worthy as he to lead the CE.  Not explaining how, they claimed that “opponents of the of the unity of the Caucasus’s Muslims” had used the difficult moment after the deaths of Sheikh Said Abu Saad Buryatskii and CE qadi and OVKBK amir Seufullah Anzor Astemirov and the capture CE military amir and G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat amir ‘Magas’ Ali Taziev (aka Akhmed Yevloev) to “strike a blow” against said unity.[16]

The fact that, according to Kavkaz tsentr citing an assistant of Umarov’s, the CE amir had sent his resignation statement to the Dagestani, Ingushetian, and OVKBK mujahedin “for receipt of their opinion in connection with his declaration” suggests that Umarov was rather tentative about the decision to resign and wished to see the reaction before taking a final decision.[17]  It did not take long before authoritative amirs rallied to back Umarov’s remaining at his post.

The Vilaiyats’ Amirs Reaffirm Their Bayats

Soon the vali-amirs of the main vilaiyats – Dagestan, G’alg’aiche (Ingushetia), and the United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK) – reaffirmed their bayats or oaths of loyalty to amir Umarov.  (Incidentally, the fact that Umarov sent his statement only to these vilaiyats and that only they responded indicates that the Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat, the Cherkessia Vilaiyat, and perhaps the Volga and Urals Fronts are insignificant at least and fictions at most;  fronts may have a different status and therefore not require the bayat.)  On August 7th OVKBK amir ‘Abdullah’ Ansar Dzhappuev became the first vali-amir to reaffirm his and his mujahedin’s bayat to amir Umarov.  He did so in a long video statement addressing a series of operational issues first, noting that the amirs of the all of the OVKBK’s sectors had reaffirmed their loyalty to Umarov as well on his orders and under the strict subordination of lower-level amirs to higher-level ones dictated by Shariah law and practice.  Two other amirs spoke after Dzhappuev promising more attacks and noting the approaching holy month of Ramadan.[18]  In a brief text statement posted on the G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat (GV) mujahedin’s website on August 11th the GV’s vali, amir Adam, followed suit and refused to repeal their bayat to Umarov “for as long as he remains a Muslim and defends Allah’s religion.”[19]

On the same day, the new, recently appointed qadi of the Caucasus Emirate and Dagestan Viliayat vali and amir, Seifullah Gubdenskii, weighed in with the gravitas that his position as the CE’s chief Shariah judge avails him.  He noted that he had received many inquiries about the situation from Muslims, and on the previous day had received enough information to issue his decision.  Gubdenskii affirmed Umarov’s authority as CE amir: “I state the following: Today the only only legal ruler of the Muslims of the Caucasus is and remains Amir Abu Usman.”[20] Arguing that the only reason that Muslims are legitimately allowed to muster in order to recall their oath or bayat of allegiance to the amir is if and when he acts against the precepts of the Koran and Sunna, he asserted that amir Umarov had not done so.  Gubdenskii claimed that Umarov always consulted with Islamic scholars before taking decisions.  The mujahedin of the Caucasus had taken to bayat to him, and even if an amir does violate the Koran or Sunna, he is allowed the opportunity to correct his mistake.  Thus, Gubdenskii called on Muslim scholars from across the globe to demonstrate even one case when Umarov contradicted the Koran or Sunna and stated that even if Umarov might at some point ignore the opinion of scholars and persist in making decisions in delusion, then the Koran and Sunna stipulate the covening of “a shura of people Ahlyul’ Halli val’ Ak’di” (people with knowledge of Shariah and military matters – Military Amirs and Scholars) from all the representatives of the Caucasus’s vilaiyats, and not one separate vilaiyat.”  He warned that “any single vilaiyat of the Caucasus Emirate does not have the right by itself to appoint or remove the Amir of the Caucasus Emirate, and if they try to do this, then they become bugats and sinners.”[21]

Gubdenskii then appealed to Umarov to remain the CE’s amir based on several considerations.  First, he stressed Umarov’s stature within the movement.  In doing so, he seems to acknowledge that some amirs, perhaps some in Dagestan, supported Umarov’s resignation: “With respect to our fraternal amirs,” there is “not one amir more authoritative and experienced” than Umarov “who became the cause of the declaration of the Islamic State, the Caucasus Emirate, for which monotheists of the entire Caucasus had waited for so long.”[22]  Second, in referring to Umarov as a driving force behind the realization of the Islamist state of which monothesists dream, he buttressed Umarov’s weak Islamist credentials of the more distant past. In this connection, Gubdenskii also reveals that like his predecessor as CE qadi, the ethnic Kabard amir of the CE’s OBKBK, Seifullah Anzor Astemirov, he also wrote to Umarov in 2007 urging him to abandon the ‘infidel’ form of rule and Chechen-centric nature of the then ‘Chechen republic of Ichkeria’, its presidency, and flag “because we, the thousands and thousands of Allah’s soldiers, from various peoples of the Caucasus, did not fight for Ichkeria, for presidents, for democracy for parliaments and moreover under the flag of the wolf.  The Most High Allah said in his Koran: ‘Fight with them as long as the troubles do not disappear and while religion (reverance) will not be illuminated completely by the One Allah.’”[23]

Third, Gubdenskii largely rejects Umarov’s health as a legitimate reason to support his resignations, since the mujahedin need his “head, experience, wisdom, and authority.”  The loophole is provided for Umarov by Gubdenskii’s phrasing that Uamrov’s health should not be “obligatorily” seen as a reason to support resignation.  He writes off the contradictory videos in which Umarov first resigns and then retracts his resignation by arguing that even when two hadiths contradict each other and are both reliable, there are ways to resolve the issue.  The sequence rules indicate that the most recent hadith trumps any previous ones.[24]

Gubdenskii claims that the Dagestan mujahedin’s respect for Umarov and his authority has “multiplied” and asks Allah to protect Umarov’s health.  He closes by calling on all the CE’s mujahedin to honor their bayat and subordinate themselves to Umarov and by reaffirming his and the Dagestan Vialiyat mujahedin’s bayat to Umarov: “I, as amir of the mujahedin of the Vilaiyat of Dagestan, state that we as before are loyal to our oath to Amir Abu Usman, the amir of all the Caucasus Emirate’s mujahedin, as long as he remains a Muslim and follows the Koran and Sunna.”[25]  A day after the publication of Gubdenskii’s statement on Jamaat Shariat, it was featured on the Kavkaz tsentr’s front page and was posted on the OVKBK’s site  The only remaining vilaiyat amir who had not reaffirmed his loyalty to Umarov was newly appointed Chechen or Nokchicho Vilaiyat amir Hussein Gakaev.

In the early morning hours of August 13th Kavkaz tsentr reported that Vadalov had resigned as Umarov’s naib in a statement by a cell phone camera transmitting poor quality.[26]  The same report announced that Muhannad had resigned as the CE’s deputy military amir and that recently appointed amir and vali of the Nokchicho Vilaiyat or Chechnya, Hussein Gakaev, claimed that he, Vadalov, and Muhannad had retracted their loyalty oath to Umarov but would remain “in the Caucasus Emirate” presumably to continue the jihad.  Gakaev also apparently resigned as Chechnya’s vali/amir, a post to which he was appointed at the same time Vadalov was appointed Umarov’s naib and successor.[27]  He explained his actions as a response to Umarov’s retraction of his own resignation, and in an as yet unpublished statement to amirs in Chechnya he outlined unidenfied “mistakes” made by Umarov.  However, according to Kavkaz tsentr, Gakaev did not use “Shariah(-based) arguments.”  Kavkaz tsentr itself appears to be siding with Umarov and his supporters, as it cited Gubdenskii’s statement in support of Umarov.[28]  As of writing neither a full text nor a video of the statements made by Vadalov, Muhannad, and Gakaev have been posted on any of the CE’s websites.

Interpretating the Umarov Resignation Controversy

This turn of events has produced several interpretations.  Some, like Russian analyst Aleksei Malashenko,[29] prime minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria government-in-exile Akhmed Zakaev, and Western commentator like Paul Goble, argue that this turn of events represents a backlash or comeback by the Chechen nationalist wing against the domination within the CE of the jihadist wing.[30]  Malashenko adds that the resignation episode could have been the result of a Russian intelligence operation.[31]

RFERL put forward four possible reasons for Umarov’s “U-turn”: (1) young amirs have rejected mass terrorism attacks against civilians; (2) young amirs support mass terrorist attacks against civilians but regard Umarov as an ineffective leader; (3) Umarov really changed his mind after seeing the effect his resignation was having on the CE; and (4) the OVKBK mujahedin refused to take the bayat to Vadalov as evidenced by the article “On Subordination to the Amir and Confusion Around It” (see below).[32]

Russian analyst Andrei Soldatov seems to have closest to the mark when he conjectured: “Maybe it was an attempted coup d’etat, maybe it was due to tensions inside the insurgency, I just don’t know.”[33]  Of all the other explanations noted above, the only one that seems to have credulity and supporting evidence as well is the most obvious one: Umarov intended to resign because of health reasons and reconsidered after seeing the reaction to his resignation.  However, the tension within the CE is not necessarily or simply that between Chechen nationalism and global jihadism.  That issue has been resolved solidly in favor of the latter, except perhaps for some of the schismatics and any supporters they may have among the Chechnya-based mujahedin.

There is no clear evidence that there was a coup d’etat.  The schismatics’ resignations and retraction of their bayats is circumstantial evidence of one, but they may have simply been driven by ambition and disappointed at what they could rightly perceive as Umarov’s perfidy or simply his indecisiveness in reneging on his agreement with them to resign.  There is less reason to believe in a Russian intelligence operation that could have duped Umarov into resigning.  However, Zakaev’s claim that he was “in regular contact” with Vadalov and the latter was “a supporter of an independent Chechen state” and planned to negotiate with Moscow could have been part of one commenced after Vadalov’s succession seemed imminent and then accomplished.[34]  If Zakaev’s claim was believed by Umarov and the majority of CE mujahedin, Vadalov could never have become Umarov’s designated successor.  It cannot be excluded that Zakaev dropped this bit of disinformation, doing Moscow’s bidding in an attempt to sew discord within the CE and ingratiate himself with the Kremlin and Chechen president Kadyrov so he might be able to return to Chechnya.  Another incident points to outside origins or at least involvement in the resignation debacle and ensuing crisis.  Hours after Umarov’s retraction of his resignation was announced, Kavkaz tsentr posted a decree issued by the CE amir abolishing the CE’s representative office abroad, the so-called ‘Vekalat’.[35]

While not likely evidence of a Russian intelligence operation, the resignation debacle and resulting schism perhaps sheds new light on the abovementioned July 30th Kavkaz tsentr article.  It acknowledged attempts to poison Umarov and claimed to have acquired “operational” information on an ostensibly, new concerted Russian policy to remove Umarov as CE amir – albeit by killing him and not maneuvering him out – in order to split the Chechen front in the jihad away from the rest of the CE.  Could this have been an effort by Kavkaz tsentr and/or others in the CE to preemptively taint the demarche by Vadalov and company before the alleged agreement on Umarov’s departure taken in June was to be announced in the August videotape?

There is little or no evidence that CE mujahedin have rejected mass terrorism against civilians.  One occasionally run across claims that the mujahedin have tried to avoid civilian casualties during IED or ambush attacks, but the same parties welcomed attacks such as the November 2009 Nevski Ekspress train bombing and the March 2010 Moscow subway suicide bombings.  It is well known that Umarov himself claimed responsibility for those attacks, and the young amirs have just reaffirmed their bayat to him.  We have seen the similar contradictions within the Caucasus jihad before.  Recall former ChRI president/amir Abdul-Khalim Sadualev’s rejection of such attacks and his claim that the ChRI had never undertaken such attacks, despite the presence of terrorists like Shamil Basaev high in its ranks.

The ‘lack of confidence’ argument also does not seem to hold much water.  Umarov has considerable authority among the most Islamist, jihadi-oriented mujahedin, who now comprise the CE.  The Gubdenskii statement, the other top amirs’ reaffirmation of their bayats, the statements of respect for Umarov by deceased jihadists like Shamil Basaev, Sheikh Said Abu Saad Buryatskii, and Seifullah Anzor Astemirov, and the absence of any jihadi criticism of the CE amir all attest to this fact.  The CE’s jihadists vigorously protested Umarov’s resignation.

We have no evidence of protest against Vadalov’s appointment as Umarov’s designated successor.  The article “On Subordination to the Amir and Confusion Around It” published on August 3rd by the OVKBK’s website and mentioned by RFERL as a possible sign of the OVKBK mujahedin’s rejection of Vadalov was in fact neutral in content.  It stressed Muslims’ obligation to submit to the amir no matter his nationality or personality as long as he is felicitous to the Koran and Sunna.  It is not entirely whether the article was posted in response to the first or second Umarov statement, since we do not know when the OVKBK amir would have become privy to the second statement repealing Umarov’s resignation statement, which, as noted above, was not unequivocal in its finality.  However, since it was posted on the site before Umarov’s statement retracting his resignation statement, we can conclude that it was likely a response to the latter.  But the statement never mentions Umarov or Vadalov and does not refer to the situation in the CE or the North Caucasus except in the article’s closing slogans.  These they call for the destruction of Putin, Medvedev, Kadyrov, and Yevkurov but make no mention of Umarov, Vadalov, the CE amir, any other mujahed, CE structure or position.[36]  In short, the message does not take one side or the other on either supporting Umarov’s resignation or on rejecting Vadalov.  It simply notes the obligation of all the mujahedin to honor whatever decision Umarov ultimately made.  The Gubdenskii statement’s mention of his 2007 letter’s appeal to reject infidel and nationalist banners and take up the jihadist one may or may not suggest some trepidation on the part of the jihadists regarding Vadalov.  But we have no way of knowing whether any such trepidation would be the result of Vadalov’s being an unreconstructed Chechen nationalist or because it is a convenient way to discredit a figure with which Gubdenskii and other Dagestanis may have other issues.

One issue that must be raised in this connection but has not thus far in any of the analyses is the extent to which there is competition within the CE between Dagestanis, particularly Avars, on the one hand and Chechens, on the other hand.  Such competition occurred during the second Great Gazavat of the 1850s and 1860s.  Imam Shamil, the most outstanding leader of the Caucasus gazavats against Russian colonial expansion, was an ethnic Avar.  Chechens tend to celebrate Shekih Mansur who led an earlier gazavat.  Avars, Dargins, Kabards and others may be disenchanted with what has been a Chechen monopoly on the position of president, then amir within the movement under both the ChRI and CE.  A suggestion that such competition may be heating up was the publication of Gubdenskii’s biographical details in the heat of the Umarov resignation debacle.[37]  The Dagestanis might prefer to retain Umarov as amir in the hope that circumstances could change so as to allow an Avar or other Dagestani to take over the CE leadership.  Perhaps Gakaev and/or others are also disgruntled that an Avar rather than a Chechen was appointed as CE qadi.  Thus, nationalism may be an issue, but it is not so much a struggle between Chechen independence, on the one hand, and an Islamist Caucasus Emirate and global jihadism, on the other hand; the former has already lost that battle, at least within the CE. Rather, ethno-nationalism is more likely to be manifested by competitionand even conflict between ethnic identity groups, which have now become somewhat institutionalized in the form of the CE’s vilaiyats.

Yulia Latynina seems thus closer to the point in noting that the jihadist wing forced Umarov to retract his resignation because of their fear or perception that Vadalov’s appointment was a sign that Umarov and Muhannad were placing their bets on Chechen nationalism rather than Caucasus jihadism.[38]  This does mean, however, that their fears reflected reality or that the issue was not competition between ethnic groups within the jihad rather than between Chechen ethnonationalists and jihadists.  We have no proof as yet that Umarov’s choice of Vadalov represented replacing the goals of Caucasus independence, an Islamist Taliban-style state, and the global jihad with the narrower goal of Chechen independence.  Nor do we have any evidence that Vadalov, Muhannad, and Gakaev resigned and retracted their bayats for the sake of pursuing mere Chechen independence.  To be sure, we have a source – former CE qaid and OVKBK amir Seifullah Anzor Astemirov – that claims the Al Qa`ida emissary Muhannad is contrary to expectations a proponent of using the national card, and this may be true regardless of whether the Vadalov appointment represents that choice.[39]  However, this should be put in the context that victory using the national card is a means towards the ends of seizing power and instituting a Shariah-based Islamic state of the Taliban kind just as a century ago Vladimir Lenin supported coopting nationalist movements in order to help internationalist communism seize power in Russia.  Similarly, the fact that Gakaev did not, as Kavkaz tsentr noted, use arguments from the Koran or Sunna to justify the schismatics’ actions does not necessarily mean that they are breaking with Umarov because they are focused only on Chechen independence.  If the Kavkaz tsentr report that they would remain “in the Caucasus Emirate” is not the spin of site editor Movladi Udugov, then these fighters might intend to continue their jihad for Caucasus-wide independence and/or an Caucasus Islamist state, perhaps shorn of some of the global jihadi orientation predominant within the CE.[40]

Another somewhat related cause of tension within the CE and perhaps any dissent over Vadalov’s assumption of the position of naib and successor is the likely desire on the part of younger amirs to move beyond the older generation of fighters from the era of the Chechen national separatist leaders of the two conventional wars.  These are seen by the former as simply being less fervently jihadist, less internet savvy, and the like.  It must be stressed again, however, that there is no evidence that the older leaders still give priority to Chechen independence.  The best evidence that they do not is that one of their own, Umarov, declared the CE and others, like Basaev and even Astemirov, pushed for the its creation.

The most likely explanation for the resignation episode is likely the most obvious one: Umarov’s health is poor – because of Russian poisoning, previous injuries and/or aging – and he sought to ease his burden by stepping down as amir and handing over the leadership to indeed a healthier, younger and more energetic figure, while remaining active in the jihad.  Three factors suggest that Umarov’s health was a serious issue prompting his resignation: (1) the abovementioned Russian media report claiming he was ill from poisoning, (2) the abovementioned Kavkaz tsentr report admitting that there were Russian attempts to poison him; and (3) Umarov’s own statement that he was resigning for health reasons.

Whether the prospect of losing Umarov or subordinating oneself to Vadalov drove the opposition to Umarov’s resignation proposal is impossible to know.  What is clear is that the Islamists leading the Dagestani, Ingushetian, and OVKBK mujahedin had their say and were heard.  No Chechen nationalist claims have thus far been raised by Vadalov, Muhannad or Gakaev in their support for Umarov’s resignation.  This fact casts into doubt the veracity of the view, quickly and hopefully championed by some of the Chechen nationalists and their supporters in the West, that the entire episode was driven by an invisible yet somehow vital Chechen nationalist element surviving among the mujahedin.  As one of these Western supporters notes: “Western groups that supported Chechen independence in the past…are likely to be re-energized by the latest Umarov reversal precisely because it appears to confirm the continued importance of ethno-nationalism in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus.”[41]  But such supporters are unable to point to a single anti-jihadist statement coming from a CE amir or member against the thousands of jihadist articles, videos, and official statements issued by now hundreds of past and present CE amirs.  Moreover, the jihadi point of view prevailed when Umarov repealed his resignation retaining his position as amir.

Some commentators argue that the whole episode illustrates the CE’s past, present and/or future inability to coalesce into an effective and cohesive organization.[42]  I tend to differ firmly on this point.  Quite surely, the episode suggests indecisiveness on Umarov’s part.  Add to this his apparent lack of charisma, and the sum equals ineffective leadership.  To be sure, the Gubdenskii statement reveals that the two contradictory videos seem to have wrought some confusion but little dissension within the CE’s ranks outside of Chechnya, requiring an ostensibly authoritative Shariah-based decision.  Moreover, it remains to be seen how many amirs and mujahedin in Chechnya will follow the Vadalov-Muhannad-Gakaev triumvirate, and the Chechen or Nokchicho Vilaiyat front has been in decline since the CE’s formation, trailing in the level of jihadi operations behind the Ingushetian/G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat from summer 2007 until spring 2010 and now lagging behind Dagestan and the OVKBK.  Dissent there may be, but there seems nothing in these events to suggest an ineffective organization or superfluously decentralized network, however.  To the contrary, despite Umarov’s shortcomings, the CE has been able over a period of several years to sustain a high level of terrorist violence involving an average of approximately 450 attacks annually across a large portion of territory, replenish its ranks, and produce a new generation of young amirs.  Other jihadi and non-jihadi organizations are based on the same decentralized ‘free- cell’ model, but some have fared less well.

Despite Umarov’s ill-advised trial balloon for resignation, the non-Chechen vilaiyats’ jihadi-oriented amirs quickly turned around and forced him to remain, understanding the risks of subordinating themselves to the elder Chechen they ‘did not know’ as opposed to the one who had not only not blocked their rise through the CE’s ranks but rather had facilitated it, especially outside Chechnya.  Time is on the jihadis’ side in this contest of age and attrition, as the June resignation of Umarov’s naib, Supyan Abdullaev, and now Umarov’s attempted one demonstrate.

However, the split that has emerged, whatever its causes, requires Umarov to appoint a new CE naib, deputy military amir, and Nokchicho Vilaiyat vali/amir.  He may hesitate to appoint a designated successor given the resignation or succession debacle.  His cadre decisions could spark new splits within the CE but will likely accelerate the rise to power within the CE of the young jihadi guard, especially those from Dagestan and perhaps the OVKBK.

One way for Umarov to avoid a split may be to call a Majlisul Shura to resolve the contested issues.  However, there are several risks involved in taking this step.  First, the meeting if handled improperly could widen the schism.  Second, this is danger to all the amirs by gathering in one place, especially given the recent successes in Russian counter-terrorism operations, and numerous recent CE and Russian reports of Russian infiltration of the movement cited by IIPER, including the abovementioned poisoning operations.  Regardless, the orientation of his appointees and the way the debacle’s aftermath is managed will go along way to determining the CE’s direction and fate in the coming years.



The new amir of the Kadar Jamaat of the Central Sector of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV) mujahedin has been announced.  He is Abu Mukhammad Al’-K”adarii.  The Jamaat Shariat announcement describes him as “noted for his special daring and bravery.”[43]  He was appointed by Central Sector amir Seifullah Gubdenskii before the latter was appointed as DV amir and CE qadi later in the month.



The CE amir Abu Usman Dokku Umarov and the Ingushetia Republic’s President Yunus bek Yevkurov are now engaged in heated battle for the minds and hearts of the Ingushetian people and mujahedin.  First, Russia’s North Caucasus Federal District is reported to be preparing an amnesty program for Ingushetia in an apparent effort to capitalize on possible disarray on this front in CE’s jihadi operations caused by the Russians’ capture of Magas (born Ali Taziev and also known as Akhmad Yevloev), the amir of the CE’s front and virtual province in Ingushetia, called G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat, and military of the CE overall.  According to the report several tens of mujahedin would possibly fall under this amnesty program which was likely promoted and is certainly supported by the moderate president of Ingushetia, Yunus bek Yevkurov and is to be submitted to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev shortly.  In a 6 March 2009 Kavkaz uzel interview, Yevkurov called for an amnesty for mujahedin who had not committed grave crime.  Yevkurov claimed to have proposed this to Russia’s leaders, and soon Russian State Duma deputies Mikhail Grishankov and Ivan Melnikov supported the idea.[44]

Within weeks of the announcement that an amnesty was in final preparations, the CE leadership in the persons of amir Abu Usman Dokku Umarov and his naib, amir Supyan Abdullaev posted a declaration to the G’alg’aiche Vilaiyat mujahedin videotaped in June, according to Umarov.  The CE amir began by saying that their declaration was initiated as a result of the “sadness which, thanks to Allah, does not weaken us” – a reference to Magas’s capture.  He added that “Akhmad” (not using Ali or Magas), “our beloved brother”, had met with “bad luck” and had been betrayed by “several enemies.”  Umarov added that they still did not know how Magas had been exposed to capture but that the CE command was investigating and would avenge those involved in Magas’s capture.[45]  Later, a message posted by the command of the G’alg’aiche Viliaiyat announced they had killed one of those who had infiltrated the Ingush mujahedin and helped in Magas’s capture.[46]  Umarov claimed that although Magas was being tortured by his Russian captors, Allah had sent him this trial not because of any sins Magas may have committed but rather because he was “the most sincere, honest, and just” among them and Allah loved him.  Saying they would try to do something about Magas’s capture and would meet with them about this, Umarov called on the Ingush mujahedin “not to despair” or “feel down” and remember how Mohammed’s companions felt after their prophet had died.  He closed: “(T)oday the most important thing is to finish the jihad, be diligent, and attain Allah’s satisfaction, completing the matter by which He will be satisfied.”  Supyan Abdullaev’s remarks were of the same nature.[47]  The united appeal by the CE’s two top leaders was a clear attempt to shore up the morale of the Ingush mujahedin in the wake of the Magas’s capture and in anticipation of the coming amnesty offer.



Tashu Kazbek, the amir of the Baksan Sector in the CE’s virtual province ‘the United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai’ (OVKBK), has been maintaining an operational level and internet presence on a scale that seems to rival the profile of his direct superior within the CE jihadi ranks, OVKBK amir ‘Abdullah’ Asker Dzhappuev.  This spring and summer Baksan has been at the center of the storm in the OVKBK’s jihad in Kabardino-Balkaria.  On July 22nd the Baksan GES (hydroelectricity station) was destroyed in what was claimed by Islamdin and other sources to be a mujahedin operation (see below).  On the net, Kazbek produced two videos on the OVKBK’s website Islamdin in July; one was posted the day before the Baksan GES attack.[48]  The OVKBK seems to be endowed with a plethora of ambitious and effective operatives, and this seems to go a long way towards explaining the OVKBK’s suddenly high level of terrorist activity ever since its first amir, ‘Seifullah’ Anzor Astemirov, was killed by Russian forces on March 24th.



On July 21st the hydroelectric station (GES) in the village of Baksan in Kabardino-Balkaria (KBR) was completely destroyed in an explosion.  It appears that the CE jihadi network’s affiliate in the KBR and Karachai-Cherkessia (KChR), the United Viliaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK), specifically its Baksan Jamaat led by amir Tashu Kazbek, was behind the attack.  The OVKBK website Islamdin carried a post announcing the attack, noting “a small group of mujahedin” was involved and providing some detail on the operation’s execution.   The report added, however, that it had not yet received an official communication from the OVKBK command.[49]  The Russian hydroelectric company ‘RusGidro’ estimated it will take two to two and a half years to restore the GES, and it was announced that the security at all GES’s in souther Russia had been reinforced.[50]

The mujahedin reportedly killed two sleeping GES guards, entered and set bombs in the station, and then detonated them destroying the GES.  In addition two sleeping guards, an MVD officer failed to inform the GES security after an explosion at another MVD station that they should be on alert, as is required by procedures.  According to Deputy Chairman of Russia’s federation Council and member of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee Aleksei Torshin, the Baksan GES had been targeted several times by the terrorists  but had been rebuffed.[51]  Four days after the attack on the GES, Russian and KBR law enforcement and security organs announced that in a special counter-terrorist operation they had killed two of the mujahedin “of the bandit group acting on the territory of Baksan district” involved in that attack.  The two members of the Baksan jamaat killed were identified as P. Orshokdugov and R. Seyunov.[52]  The Russian Prosecutor’s Investigative Committee identified as the perpetrator the Baksan Jamaat under amir Tashu Kazbek, who they referred to as Kazbek Tashuev, apparently amir Tashu Kazbek’s his real name.  GES workers were said to have identified Kazbek.  Orignially, law enforcement blamed the attack on Kazbek’s superior, OVKBK amir ‘Abdullah’ Asker Dzhappuev.  Another version included CE amir Umarov among the organizers.[53]

According to Kavkaz uzel, between June 1st and July 20th there have been at least 17 bomb explosions and 8 shootings targeting the police and intelligence personnel, killing 6 and wounding 10 in the KBR.  During the same period, 3 mujahedin have been killed and 5 detained.  There have been 13 attempted bombing attacks prevented by interdiction of the attackers or by disarming deployed bombs.[54]

This attack raises the possibility that last year’s explosions at the Sayano-Suzhensk GES in Khakassia may have been a CE attack, as CE-affiliated sites and the CE’s Riyadus Salikhin Martyrs’ Battalion claimed at the time.  That attacked destroyed the SS GES, killed 73 and wounded more than 100.  In reporting on the Baksan GES attack, the CE website Kavkaz tsentr reiterated the CE’s claim of responsibility for the SS GES attack.[55]



On July 10th the United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK) the CE network’s affiliate working in Russia’s North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Cherkessia posted on the website Minbar belonging to the chief ideologue of the global jihadi revolutionary movement Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi answers by Sheikh Abu Al-Munzir Al-Shankityi to questions posed by an Egyptian Muslim .  The Egyptian posed four questions to Maqdisi. Is it permitted to receive a loan and then contribute the money to the jihad?  Is it permissible to contribute to the jihad money found or money garnered from objects found, or should it be returned to “the infidel government?”  Is it permissible to steal weapons or property from infidel police or military and use it for one’s personnel needs?  Is it permissible to take hostage or attack foreign tourists visiting Muslim countries from countries that are antagonistic to “our people” and “all Islamic countries?”[56]

The sheikh answered that only credits from apostate (and presumably infidel) institutions not that taken from private citizens could be contributed to the jihad.  To the second question, Maqdisi said found moneys or moneys acquired from found property should be used and not returned to infidel governments.  The answer to the third question was that it was permissible to steal weapons or property from infidel police or military and use it for one’s personnel needs as long as what these were used for remained within the limits outlined by Shariah law.  On the last question, Maqdisi advised the inquirer to refer to another one of his missives. The article carried a link to the original fatwas.[57]



Security forces reported on July 16th uncovering a mujahedin base in a forest near Indysh in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Karachai-Cherkessia (KChR).  This, along with Kabardino-Balkaria (KBR), belongs to the territory charged by the Caucasus Emirate jihadi network to its United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai.  There have not been many if any jihadi attacks in this republic that can be conclusively charged to jihadists in several years.  However, five days earlier the mutilated body of a MVD senior sergeant was found in Uchkeken, KChR.  Previous attacks on politicians in the republic this year appear to have been tied to pre-election violence rather than the jihad.[58]  A day later an unidentified person was arrested in connection with the MVD senior sergeant’s apparent murder.[59]



On July 20th, the CE jihadi network and its substructure in the Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Cherkessia, the so-called United Vilaiyat of Kabardia, Balkaria and Karachai (OVKBK), strengthened their ties with the global jihadi revolutionary movement when it announced its co-sponsorship of a joint project with the Arabic jihadi site Ansar al-Mujahidin website (  The new website, located at, will “highlight the news summaries of the Jihad on all fronts, both in the Caucasus and in all other lands of the fight” and publish old and new works of scholars of the “ahli sunny ual’ jama’a.”[60]

The announcement quotes the American-born and anti-American Yemeni-based jihadist jihadi ideologist and Al-Qa`ida recruiter, Anwar al-Awlaki, who continues to maintain a high profile on CE sites.  Awlaki is cited on the value of being a “jihadist of the internet” and the need to create fee-free and uncensored discussion fora, lists of e-mail addresses so Muslims interested in jihad can contact each other and exchange information, online publication and distribution of literatrue and news of the jihad, sites which focus on separate aspects of the jihad.  Awlaki urges following the events of the jihad is recommended because it “enlivens our connection to the jihad”; “strengthens our belongingness to the Umma”; “approves our joining the jihad”; “inflames our desire to receive martyrdom”; allows Muslims “to see how Allah defends his slaves and leads them to victory”; provides “practical examples on how our brothers are applying theory in contemporary conditions”; and “strengthens our attention to the Koran,” to which strengthened ties “reaches its peak when we ourselves participate in this conflict (jihad), entering the ranks of the mujahedin.”[61]  Islamdin posted the first part of Awlaki’s Al-Janna the day after this announcement.[62]

Kavkaz tsentr accopmpanied the announcement regarding Al-Ansar with another noting that the site InfoKavkaz ( had been restored several days prior to July 25th after an earlier hacker attack left the site down.[63]



Chief ideologist on the Ingushetian mujahedin website,, Abu-t-Tanvir Kavkazskii claimed in a July 22nd article that among the Caucasus mujahedin there are “Bashkirs and Uzbeks, Arabs and Russians, Yakuts and Uighurs.”[64]



On July 4th another apparent attack (actually 2 attacks) by mujahedin occurred in Bashkortostan and neighboring region of Perm.  The first of this and any year in the southern Urals republic populated in the majority by Bashkirs and Tatars occurred Bashkortostan in March (see IIPER, No. 13).  The 3-4 July attack(s) targeted traffic police in Perm’s village of Suksun near the border with Bashkortostan followed by a second across the border in Bashkortostan.  The perpetrators, according to law enforcement, were planning a sabotage attack on the high pressure Chelyabinsk-Petrovsk gas pipeline on which an IED was discovered by security.  The three attackers were identified as 23-year old Il’pat Shafiev, 28-year old Irek Gainullin, and 32-year old Nafis Shaimukhametov.  The attackers were reported to be pursued by 660 personnel and 85 vehicles of the MVD and FSB.[65]  It cannot be stated with certainty that these attackers had Islamist goals as the motive behind their attempted diversion and attacks.

A pro-ethnic Russian paper, Ufa Journal, citing Russkii Reporter, reported on supposedly growing sympathy for “Wahhabis” and “the mujahedin” among the population in Bashkortostan’s Askino raion (district).  It also claimed that the Bashkir mujahedin emerged from the nationalist organization, the Union of Bashkir Youth (Soyuz Baskirskoi Molodezhi or SBM) and its camps in Zilair district, allegedly sponsored by recently resigned Bashkortostan President Murtaza Rakhimov.  It was also reported that special MVD forces, OMON, were sent from Moscow to comb the forests in Bashkiria in search of mujahedin but were ostensibly poisoned to sickness by local vendors and were reduced to sitting by the side of the road.[66]  The claim in Russian politics is that like former Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev in the early 1990s, Rakhimov had begun to sponsor radical nationalists as of a way of impressing upon Moscow his own indispensability as a moderate nationalist loyal to Russia and able to maintain its territorial integrity and political stability.  The republic has also seen the rise of a new but as yet not very popular radical nationalist group ‘Kuk bure’ led by Azat Salmanov.  The CE website Kavkaz tsentr was happy to site the infidel site’s report that Bashkortostan was seeing growing support for the “mujahedin and “the Jihad.”[67]  It also reported on the alleged poisoning.[68]  Later in the month, the Ingushetia mujahedin’s site published an article on Russians’ conquest of the “Idel-Ural” region’s Muslims that encompasses the territories of Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and ‘other Mulsim lands.’[69]  As noted in IIPER, No. 13, several Ingush mujahedin were involved in the March attacks in Bashkortostan.



[1] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o svoem preemnike.  Im stal Amir Aslambek,” Kavkaz tsentr, 24 July 2010, 01:30,

[2] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o svoem preemnike.  Im stal Amir Aslambek,” Kavkaz tsentr, 24 July 2010, 01:30,

[3] “Amir Mansur (Khusein Gakaev): ‘Nashi zhizni nakhodyatsya v rukakh Allakha!’,” Kavkaz tsentr, 19 July 2010, 11:23,

[4] “V Chechne siloviki prodolzhayut spetsoperatsiyu protiv boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 15 June 2010, 19:52,

[5] “Novaya strategiya Kremlya: Umarova ubit’, Kadyrova smestit’, Gantamirova naznachit’,” Kavkaz tsentr, 30 July 2010, 17:22,

[6] “Novaya strategiya Kremlya: Umarova ubit’, Kadyrova smestit’, Gantamirova naznachit’,” Kavkaz tsentr, 30 July 2010, 17:22,

[7] “Novaya strategiya Kremlya: Umarova ubit’, Kadyrova smestit’, Gantamirova naznachit’,” Kavkaz tsentr, 30 July 2010, 17:22,

[8] Yurii Vershov, “Rossiiskikh boevikov travyat yadami,” Rosbalt, 29 July 2010, 14:03,

[9] “Vilaiyat Nokchicho: V Vedenskom raione v rezul’tate otravleniya stali Shakhidami, inshaallakh, 9 modzhekhedov,” Kavkaz tsentr, 17 June 2010, 12:49,

[10] “Ramzan Kadyrov podtverdil fakt gibeli Yasira Amarata,” Kavkaz uzel, 11 June 2010, 18:19,

[11] “O sobitiyakh na Kvkaze,” Kavkaz tsentr, 12 June 2010, 11:43,

[12] The video is still available at “Amir IK Abu Usman slozhil s sebya polnomochiya,”, last accessed 13 August 2010.  See a text summary at “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o preemnike i predlozhil naznachit’ Amirom Imarata Kavkaz Aslambeka Vadalova,” Kavkaz tsentr, 1 August 2010, 19:33, updated 2 August 2010, 01:37,

[13] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o preemnike i predlozhil naznachit’ Amirom Imarata Kavkaz Aslambeka Vadalova,” Kavkaz tsentr, 1 August 2010, 19:33, updated 2 August 2010, 01:37,

[14] “KTs. Kavkaz-Tsentr podvergaya DOS-atake,” Kavkaz tsentr, 2 August 2010, 02:12,

[15] The video is available at “Spetsianl’noe Zayavlenie Amira Dokku Abu Usman,” You Tube,  The video was still available on the front pages of the CE’s main websites — Kavkaz tsentr, the Ingushetian G’alg’aiche Velaiyat’s, the Dagestan Vilaiyat’s, and the OVKBK’s – as of 14 August 2010.  For a written report on the Umarov’s retraction of his resignation see “Amir Imarata Kavkaz Dokku Abu Usman otmenil svoyu otstavku, nazvav eyo sfabrikirovannoi, i vystupil po etomu povodu so spetsial’nym zayavleniem,” Kavkaz tsentr, 4 August 2010, 13:03,

[16] Gruppa musul’man Vilaiyata Nokchicho, “Otkrytoe pis’mo amiru Imarata Kavkaz Dokku Abu Usman,” Kavkaz tsentr, 6 August 2010, 17:58,

[17] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o preemnike i predlozhil naznachit’ Amirom Imarata Kavkaz Aslambeka Vadalova,” Kavkaz tsentr, 1 August 2010, 19:33, updated 2 August 2010, 01:37,

[18] “Obrashchenie Valiya Viliayata KBK Abdullakh,”, 7 August 2010, 07:04,

[19] “Zayavleniya valiya Vilaiyata G’alg’aiche (Ingushetiya) Imirata Kavkaz Amira Adama,”, 11 August 2010, 10:59,

[20] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[21] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[22] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[23] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[24] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[25] “Zayavlenie K”adiya Imarata Kavkaz – Amira Dagestanskogo Fronta Saifullakh Gubdenskogo,” Jamaat Shariat, 11 August 2010, 20:45,

[26] “Vilaiyat Nokchicho: Aslambel Vadalov slozhil s sebya polnomochiya naiba amira Imarata Kavkaz,” Kavkaz tsentr, 13 August 2010, 00:39,

[27] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman ob”yavil o svoem preemnike. Im stal Amir Aslambek,” Kavkaz tsentr, 24 July 2010, 01:30,

[28] “Vilaiyat Nokchicho: Aslambel Vadalov slozhil s sebya polnomochiya naiba amira Imarata Kavkaz,” Kavkaz tsentr, 13 August 2010, 00:39,

[29] Balmforth, “Toothache Rescinded.”

[30] Paul Goble, “Umarov’s Reversal Shows that North Caucasus Militants are More Nationalistic and Less Islamist than Moscow has Claimed,” Window on Eurasia, 5 August 2010,

[31] Balmforth, “Toothache Rescinded.”

[32] “Umarov’s U-Turn,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ‘Caucasus Report’, 4 August 2010,

[33] Tom Balmforth, “Toothache Rescinded,” Russia Profile, 5 August 2010,

[34] Sergei Mashkin and Musa Muradov, “Doku Umarov zhiv, no nezdorov,” Kommersant, 3 August 2010, and Marina Golovnina, “New Chechen rebel leader is no terrorist, says ally,” Rueters, 4 August 2010, 1:29,

[35] “Vekalat Imarata Kavkaz: Omra o rospuske Vekalata Imarata Kavkaz za rubezhom,” Kavkaz tsentr, 3 August 2010, 23:41, and “Vekalat Imarata Kavkaz: Omra o rospuske Vekalata Imarata Kavkaz za rubezhom,” General Vekalat, 4 August 2010, 2:02,

[36] “O podchinenii Amiru i o smutakh vokrug nego,”, 3 August 2010, 10:13,

[37] “Amir Dagestanskogo Fronta i K”adii Imarata Kavkaz,” Jamaat Shariat, 8 August 2010, 21:58, and “Amir Dagestanskogo Fronta i K”adii Imarata Kavkaz Saifullakh. Chast’ 2 – Dzhikhad,” Jamaat Shariat, 13 August 2010, 02:50,–2-.html.

[38] Yulia Latynina, “Will the Real Caucasus Emir Please Stand Up,” St. Petersburg Times, 13 August 2010,

[39] “Amir Seifullah o protsesse podgotovki k provoglasheniyu Kavkazskogo Emirata,” Kavkaz tsentr, 20 November 2007, 23:15,

[40] “Vilaiyat Nokchicho: Aslambel Vadalov slozhil s sebya polnomochiya naiba amira Imarata Kavkaz,” Kavkaz tsentr, 13 August 2010, 00:39,

[41] Paul Goble, “Umarov’s Reversal Shows that North Caucasus Militants are More Nationalistic and Less Islamist than Moscow has Claimed,” Window on Eurasia, 5 August 2010,

[42] Mark Galleotti sees a “terminal decline of the current rebel movement, as it degenerates into effective and dedicated but isolated terrorists” and “no prospect of a unified ‘Caucasus Emirate’.”  Mark Galeotti, “Who is Aslambek Vadalov?,” In Moscow’s Shadows, 2 August 2010,  See also Yulia Latynina, “Will the Real Caucasus Emir Please Stand Up,” St. Petersburg Times, 13 August 2010,

[43] “Naznachen Amir K”adarskogo Dzhamaata. Im stal Abu Mukhammad Al’-K”adarii,” Jamaat Shariat, 5 July 2010, 10:18,

[44] “V SKFO gotovitsya amnistiya dlya boevikov Ingushetii,” Kavkaz uzel, 5 July 2010, 20:45,

[45] “Tekst obrashcheniya Amira IK Dokku Abu Usman i Amir Sup’yana k kodzhakhedam G’alg’aiche (Video),” Kavkaz tsentr, 20 July 2010, 12:10,

[46] “Zayavlenie komandovaniya mudzhakhidov vilaiyata G’alg’aiche,”, 7 July 2010, 3:03,

[47] “Tekst obrashcheniya Amira IK Dokku Abu Usman i Amir Sup’yana k kodzhakhedam G’alg’aiche (Video),” Kavkaz tsentr, 20 July 2010, 12:10,

[48] See “’Al’ Ualya ual’ Bara’ na kabardinskom yazyke. Chitaet amir Tashu Kazbek,” Islamdin, 21 July 2010, 17:37,; “Amir Tashu Kazbek na kabardinskom yazyke. Vilaiat KBK IK,” Islamdin, 4 July 2010, 18:07,

[49] “Vzorvana Baksanskaya GES. Vilaiyat KBK IK,” Islamdin, 21 July 2010,

[50] “Bastrykin: napadeniyu na Baksanskuyu GES sposobstvovala plokhaya okhrana,” Kavkaz uzel, 22 July 2010, 13:26,

[51] “Prokuratura KBR: diversiyu na Baksanskoi GES mozhno bylo predotvratit’,” Kavkaz uzel, 25 July 2010, 02:52, and “MVD: unichtozheny prichastnyie k vzryvu na Baksanskoi GES boeviki,” Kavkaz uzel, 25 July 2010, 19:51,

[52] “MVD: unichtozheny prichastnyie k vzryvu na Baksanskoi GES boeviki,” Kavkaz uzel, 25 July 2010, 19:51,

[53] “Bastrykin: napadeniyu na Baksanskuyu GES sposobstvovala plokhaya okhrana,” Kavkaz uzel, 22 July 2010, 13:26,

[54] “MVD: unichtozheny prichastnyie k vzryvu na Baksanskoi GES boeviki,” Kavkaz uzel, 25 July 2010, 19:51,

[55] See “Zapadnyie mass-media ukazyvayut, chto Amir Dokku Abu Usman vypolnyaet svoe obeshchanie,” Kavkaz tsentr, 21 July 2010, and “Okkupanty vynuzhdeno priznali fakt diversii na Baksanskoi GES,” Kavkaz tsentr, 21 July 2010, 11:37 and 20:44,

[56] “Khukm o imushchestve vrazheskikh turistov, i soldat murtadov,” Islamdin, 10 July 2010, 00:20,

[57] “Khukm o imushchestve vrazheskikh turistov, i soldat murtadov,” Islamdin, 10 July 2010, 00:20,


[58] “MVD: v Karachaevo-Cherkesii obnaruzhen baza boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 16 July 2010, 23:40,

[59] V Karachaevo-Cherkesii zaderzhan podozrevaemyi v ubiistve militsionera,” Kavkaz uzel, 16 July 2010, 13:22,

[60] “V global’noi seti interneta otkrylsya novyi forum v podderzhku Dzhikhada,” Islamdin, 20 July 2010, 16:18,

[61] “V global’noi seti interneta otkrylsya novyi forum v podderzhku Dzhikhada,” Islamdin, 20 July 2010, 16:18,

[62] “Imam Anuar al’ Aulyaki: Al- Dzhanna- Chast 1,” Islamdin, 25 July 2010, 06:09,

[63] “Mass-Media: Otkrylsya forum ‘Ansar al’-Dzhikhad’.  Vosstanovlena robota saita Infokavkaz,” Kavkaz tsentr, 25 July 2010, 12:28,

[64] Abu-t-Tanvir Kavkazskii, “Vrazhda,” 22 July 2020, 4:04

[65] “Obstrelyavshikh post DPS ishchet polk militsii,”, 4 July 2010, 16:55 and 5 July 2010, 20:06, and “V Bashkortostane atakovan blok-post okkupatsionnoi bandy DPS,” Kavkaz tsentr, 5 July 2010, 00:20 and 08:25,

[66] Maksim Aver’yanov, “Bashkiria prospala vakhkhabitov,” Journal Ufa, 23 July 2010,

[67] “Idel-Ural: V preddverie Dzhikhada,” Kavkaz tsentr, 23 July 2010, 14:46,

[68] “Diversiya. Bashkiry otravili russkikh okkupantov, pribyvshikh dlya bor’by s diversionnym otryadom modzhakhedov, isporchennoi pishchei,” Kavkaz tsentr, 23 July 2010, 13:52,

[69] Abu-t-Tanvir Kavkazskii, “Derzhava na islamskoi krovi: Chast 2: Idel-Ural,”, July 2010,




The Monterey Institute for International Studies has recently opted to combine its very popular and highly regarded M.A. International Policy Studies degree specializations in Terrorism Studies and Nonproliferation Studies into a combined new M.A. Program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, a program that will now have an even higher profile and greater institutional autonomy. Apart from combining two of the Institute’s strongest academic programs, this will ensure that students take the introductory courses in both subjects but will also allow them to concentrate primarily on either terrorism or nonproliferation (or, if they prefer, to focus on both subjects equally, e.g., on CBRN terrorism). As you may already know, our students have an exceptionally high success rate getting jobs in these specialized fields.

The Institute is also introducing a new one-semester (or one-year) Certificate in Terrorism Studies for professionals or students who wish to obtain specialized academic training in this subject without spending an entire two years in residence. Prospective students can be admitted into this Certificate Program without meeting the somewhat stringent language requirements that regular students must meet.

If you know of any students or professionals who might find this new program of particular interest, or who wish to obtain outstanding preparation for careers in these fields, or who wish to obtain further specialized training before going on to obtain a doctorate, it would be very much appreciated if let them know about our new program.



Islam, Islamism and politics in Eurasia report (IIPER) is a project of the Monterey Terrorism and Research and Education Program (MonTREP) at the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS), Monterey, California.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam and ethnic Muslim communities in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER can be found at

IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is Senior Researcher at the  Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program and Visiting Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and Analyst/Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch,  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MIIS.  Dr. Hahn is the author of two well-received books, Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007) and Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002) as well as numerous articles on Russian, Eurasian and international politics.

IIPER welcomes submissions of 1,500-6,000 words on any aspect of Islamic politics in Eurasia and financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact or

Research assistance for IIPER is provided by Leonid Naboishchikov, Daniel Painter, Fabian Sievert, and Daria Ushakova.

For additional information, please contact:

Dr. Gordon Hahn

Senior Researcher and WMD Terrorism Database Manager

Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP)

460 Pierce Street

Monterey, CA – 93940 USA

Tel: (831) 647-3535 Fax: (831) 647-6522


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