Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) 51

Photo russian_mosque

15 February 2012

Gordon M. Hahn, Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies




IIPER is written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn unless otherwise noted.  Research assistance is provided by Yelena Altman, Sara Amstutz, Mark Archibald, Michelle Enriquez, Seth Gray, John Andrew Jones, Casey Mahoney, Anna Nevo, Daniel Painter, and Elizabeth Wolcott.  IIPER accepts outside submissions.



CE amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov issued a video statement posted on the official CE website Kavkaz tsentr on February 3rd calling on the CE mujahedin for a moratorium on attacks targeting civilians in Russia.  The four-minute video, titled ‘The Order of the Amir of the Caucasus Emirate Dokku Abu Usman Regarding the Question of the Status of the Civilian Population of Russia’ (‘Prikaz Amira Emirata Kavkaz Dokku Abu Usman po voprosu o statuse grazhdanskogo naseleniya Rossii’), shows Umarov with two unidentified mujahedin sitting on each side of him.[1]  After his opening prayer, Umarov states:

The present events in Russia show that the civilian population does not support Putin’s chekist regime, does not support those dark forces and that the peaceful population is the hostage of the same regime that is brutally fighting against Islam on the territory of the Caucasus.  Given these ongoing events we are obliged to protect the civilian population because our Our Prophet teaches us that if the peaceful population does not take part in the war against Muslims or does not support those dark forces who fight against Islam, then it is really a peaceful population.  And therefore our religion orders us to protect that peaceful population and not to touch that peaceful population.[2]

Because Russia’s civilian population is supposedly held “hostage” by the Russian government, Umarov announces that he is “ordering all special groups that are conducting or are preparing to conduct special operations on the territory of Russia to limit them if the peaceful population of Russia could suffer in those operations and to carry out special operations precisely against the siloviki, against special services, and against those dark forces who serve as bureaucrats and by their words and deeds do harm to Islam and are enemies of Islam, and against national traitors.”[3]

The text accompanying the video supposedly provided by the “Press Service of the Amir of the Caucasus Emirate” reads as follows:

Caucasus Emirate’s Amir Dokku Abu Usman changed the status of civilian population in Russia and gave order to avoid attacks on civilian targets due to a process of civil protest that began in Russia, and te fact that people no longer accept Putin’s policy.

This may mean that the citizens of Russia – among other things – no longer support the barbarous methods of war used in the Caucasus Emirate and authorized by Putin and his clique.

In this case, the civilian population of Russia stays outside the category of aggressor.

This means that the population of Russia has a choice:

Either to support the regime, or to choose another (new or old) one, which will continue the previous policy in the Caucasus and [in this case] to fall again in the category of aggressor with corresponding consequences, or to act resolutely against the policy of murder and terror perpetrated against innocent civilians in the Caucasus.

In this case, the civilian population of Russia will protect itself from Mujahideen attacks.
This moratorium does not apply to military and political structures of the belligerent state.

Likewise, this moratorium does not apply to the belligerent state itself, which will not be safe from attacks of the Mujahideen until a truce.

Dokku Abu Usman made a special statement in this regard. The CE Amir promulgated an order binding for all subdivisions of Mujahideen forces, including special-operation groups operating inside Russia.

Amir Dokku Abu Usman ordered the Mujahideen to attack selective targets in Russia, law enforcement structures, the military, intelligence services and political leadership of Russia.

If, after the promulgation of this order, an attack takes place against civilian targets, then it will be regarded as a provocation from the agonizing KGB regime.[4]

Umarov’s move is a clear attempt to make common cause with the Russian ‘white revolution’ opposition movement against the Russian government in the hope that some opposition elements might take up arms against the regime in effect alongside the CE mujahedin or even convert to Islam and join the CE’s jihad and that that the opposition might make concessions to the mujahedin should the white revolution remove the present leadership and come to power.  This is suggested by his reference to the Prophet teaching that mujahedin should ‘protect the peaceful population’ if it does not support Islam’s opponents.  This would contrast with any violent crackdown on the opposition protests that could possibly occur.

In addition to being a political and propaganda ploy, Umarov’s move could also be driven by necessity.  Although Umarov promised tens of suicide bombings in the wake of the January 2011 suicide bombing of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport that he ordered, the number of successful suicide attacks fell precipitously in 2011.  There were only 6 successful attacks, the last one occurring on August 30th in Chechnya’s capitol Grozny.  By comparison, there were 16 successful attacks in 2009 and 14 in 2010.  The sharp decline in the number of suicide bombings could be due to a dearth of recruits willing to terminate their lives on Umarov’s orders in order to kill innocent civilians.  The gap between Umarov’s words of threat and this year’s actual deeds of istishkhad (jihadi martyrdom) might have prompted Umarov to cover up this failure by calling what would be in effect a moratorium on istishkhad attacks until such time as the political situation in Russia resolves itself one way or another.  In the meantime, the mujahedin can work on replenishing the ranks of the CE’s suicide bombing brigades, especially the notorious Riyadus Salikhiin Martys’ Brigade resuscitated in spring 2009 after a hiatus of several years.



In Chechnya, the year 2012 began with an open battle between the mujahedin of the CE’s Chechen network, the Nokchicho Vilaiyat (NV), and Chechen Republic MVD police and security forces in the republic’s Vedeno Raion.  This was the largest attack in Chechnya since the 19 October 2010 attack on the Chechen parliament.  According to official reports, 4 MVD police and special force troops were killed and 16 were wounded during the three day battle on 8-10 January.  At least 5 mujahedin were killed in what the security forces called a ‘special operation.’  One law enforcement official conjectured that the mujahedin were the same who carried out the combined suicide bombing/conventional insurgent attack on Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s residence in Gudermes on 29 August 2010.[5]  CE websites regarded the clash as an attack initiated by the mujahedin and claimed that casualties among the law enforcement organs amounted to 10 killed and 20-25 wounded.[6]



On January 27th Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) claimed security forces had killed the amir of the CE’s Ingushetiya network, the Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV).  GV amir ‘Adam’ Dzhamaleil (Jamaleil) Mutaliev was killed on January 27th in Ekazhevo, Ingushetiya.  Two other mujahedin were killed in the same special operation, including 23-year old Bekhhan Ganiev, the alleged “right hand” – likely meaning naib – of the amir of the GV’s Malgobek Jamaat or Sector, who is unknown.[7]  Mutaliev succeeded GV amir and CE military amir ‘Magas’ Ali Taziyev, who was captured by Russian security forces in June 2010.  According to NAK, Mutaliev was part of the inner circle of Shamil Basaev, the notorious Chechen terrorist, and is wanted for involvement in several terrorist attacks, including the 9 September 2009 attack on the open air market in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetiya that killed 20 and wounded at least 240.[8] It was Basaev, of course, who allied himself and other Caucasus and Chechen Republic of Ichkeriya (the CE’s predecessor organization) mujahedin with Al Qa`ida and played a major role in the transformation of the ChRI as a largely Chechen national separatist movement into the CE as an explicitly jihadist one allied with the global jihadi revolutionary alliance’s network of networks.

The 35-year old Mutaliev had maintained a rather low profile, with the GV’s qadi Abu Dzhudzhan (Jijan) taking the lead in public communications and propaganda efforts on the GV’s website Hunafa.com.



After setbacks in early 2011, the CE’s United Vilaiyat of Kabardino, Balkariya, and Karachai or OVKBK has regrouped and may be extending its network into Karachaev-Cherkessiya as a stepping stone for operations targeting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

In 2010 and especially in April 2011, Russia and local security forces succeeded in decimating the leadership cadre of the OVKBK – the CE’s network for Russia’s republics of Kabardino-Balkariya (KBR) and the Karachaevo-Cherkessiya (KChR).  On 29 April 2010 the OVKBK suffered the loss of its founder ‘Seifullah’ Anzor Astemirov, who was also the CE’s qadi.[9]  Little more than a year later, on 29 April 2011 it lost nearly its entire leadership, including OVKBK amir ‘Abdullah’ Askar Dzhappuev and several, perhaps all of his naibs, all of whom also served as sector amirs, including Northeastern Sector amir ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Kazbek Leonidovich Tashu(ev), Abdul Jabar’s naib Abdul Gafur (Aslanbek Khamurzov), Southwestern Sector amir Zakariya (Ratmir Shameyev), Northwestern Sector amir Musa, and others (see IIPER No. 39).

The loss of not just amir Dzhappuev but also key naibs such as Tashuev and Shameyev was a major blow to the OVKBK’s summer offensive plans.  Tashuev (born 14 August 1978) had been amir of the Baksan Sector of the Northeastern Sector/Front since 2005, a key OVKBK sector.  He also displayed prudent leadership in carrying out importance intelligence operations and as far back as autumn 2005 by refusing to participate in the major incursion into the KBR’s capitol Nalchik with some 200 fighters because it would be a high casualty operation and too costly in terms of the KBR mujahedin’s limited manpower.[10]  Southwestern Front/Sector  and Nalchik Sector amir ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev had been a rising star, producing numerous propaganda videos and undertaking a good share of OVKBK operations in 2010, sporting his signature black head dress and eye patch.

Now the OVKBK has resuscitated itself and appears poised to give the KBR and perhaps the KChR more difficulties.  Six months after the decimation of its leadership, as detailed in IIPER No. 47, the OVKBK’s top ranks have been renewed, and the leadership has convened several organizational shuras.  The amirs of the OVKBK sectors appeared at a shura in October under the leadership of its new amir ‘Ubaid’ Alim Zankishev.  As noted in IIPER No. 47, the new OVKBK amir thus far has not exhibited much charisma or personality and seems similar to CE amir Umarov in dress, beard, and manner.  The accompanying video, showing several minutes of statements by the amirs, includes at least 5 or 6 amirs, suggesting the OVKBK now includes at least 5 or 6 sectors, depending on whether Zankishev is also a sector amir.[11]  Emphasizing at the shura that their previous losses will not stop their efforts to “raise the word of Allah,” OVKBK amir Zankishev introduced the new amirs he appointed: Southeastern Sector amir Khamzat, Southwestern Sector amir Abu Khasan, Northwestern Sector amir Khamza, Northeastern Sector amir Abdulmanik, and Central Sector amir Umar (Omar).  Zankishev did not indicate whether any of these sector amirs are his naibs.[12]  The updated leadership and structure of the OVKBK is presented in the table below.




Amir – ‘Ubaid’ Alim Zankishev, appointed 9 September 2011.  Predecessors – ‘Abdullah’ Asker Dzhappuev, cited 16 May 2010, killed April 2011; Arsen Tatarov, killed 31 March 2010; Anzor Astemirov (aka Seyfullah), killed 24 March 2010.

Naib(s) – unknown.  Predecessors – ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev (killed 29 April 2011); ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Kazbek Leonidovich Tashu(ev) (killed 29 April 2011); Timur Tatchaev (killed May 2010); Abu Dudzhan Adam Dzhappuev (appointed March 2009, killed 21 June 2009); Abdu-R-Rakhman Marat Guliev (appointed March 2009, killed 20 May 2009); Imam Musa Mukozhev (appointed March 2009, killed 11 May 2009); Abu Djalil (killed 21 June 2009); Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (appointed March 2009, killed 22 April 2009).


Eastern Sector (last cited in 2009): Amir – unknown.  Predecessors: Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (killed 22 April 2009).

Central Sector (Nalchik, Khasan): Amir – Umar (first cited October 2011, last cited 16 November 2011).  Predecessors: Abu Usman Zeitun Sultanov (killed April 22, 2009).

            Unknown jamaat: Amir – Khattab (cited 16 November 2011).

Southeast Sector (Lesken, Irvan, and Tersk Raions and part of Cherek Raion): Amir – Khamza (first cited October 2011, last cited 22 November 2011).

Southwest Sector: Amir – Abu Khasan (cited October 2011).  Predecessors: ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev (killed 29 April 2011).

Nalchik Sector: Amir – unknown.  Predecessors – ‘Zakariya’ Ratmir Shameyev (killed 29 April 2011)

Northwest Sector: Amir – Khamzat (first cited October 2011, last cited 11 November 2011).  Predecessors: Musa (first cited September 2010, killed 2011).

Northeast Sector (Baksan): Amir – Abdul Malik (first cited October 2011, last cited 14 November 2011).  Predecessors: ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Kazbek Leonidovich Tashu(ev) (2005 – 29 April 2011 when killed).

Naib – unknown.  Predecessors: Abdul Gafur (first cited July 2010, killed 29 April 2011).

  • Baksan Sector: Amir – Zalim Tutov. Predecessor – ‘Abdul Jabbar’ Kazbek Leonidovich Tashu(ev) (2005 – 29 April 2011 when killed).

Naib – unknown.  Predecessor – Aslanbek Khamurzov (killed 29 April 2011).

    • Baksan Jamaat: Sultan Shevhuzhev (killed May 28 2009).

Yarmuk Jamaat: Amir (last cited in 2009) – Unknown.  Predecessors: Adam Dzappuev (killed 21 June 2009); Predecessors – Anzor Astemirov ‘Seyfullah’; Muslim Atayev (killed April 2005); Ruslan Bekanov (killed June 2005);

Chegem Jamaat (last cited 2009): Amir – unknown.

Other Amirs:

Kanamat Zankishev (brother of Alim, killed May 2010).


Amir – Biaslan Gochiyaev (killed 7 December 20911)


The leadership of the OVKBK’s historically notorious Baksan Sector has been replenished with an experienced amir, Zalim Tutov.  The 27-year Tutov was already wanted by the authorities for at least four previous attacks on law enforcement personnel when he took over the Baksan mujahedin.[13]

The OVKBK also established a new website ‘Dzhamaat Takbir’ (Jamaat Takbir) at www.djamaattakbir.com.  In effect it is a mirror site that duplicates much of the material posted on the OVKBK’s main site Islamdin, which in turn had mirror sites under the same title: Islamdin.com and Islamdin.biz.  However, since Dzhamaat Takbir’s appearance, Islamdin.com has disappeared and only Islamdin.biz remains.  In early December, the KBR’s prosecutor called for the Dzhamaat Takbir website to be declared extremist and be shut down, but the site remains online and is updated daily with mush the same content as appears on Islamdin.biz.[14]

More recently, the new sector amirs introduced themselves on the OVKBK and other CE websites and issued threats as they prepared for attacks.  A six-minute video declaration by Central Sector (TsS) amir Umar appeared on November 16th on the OVKBK website ‘Islamdin’, in which the young unbearded Umar, seated along with three other mujahedin, calls on Muslims to join the jihad for the “great words” Allah offers and warns the “infidel” (kafir) that they cannot escape Allah’s wrath.  Umar introduces the mujahed seated to his right, whom he identifies as amir Khattab of one of the TsS’s “groups” (gruppy).  Khattab gives a brief, unremarkable statement before Umar ends the video with an Arabic language closing.[15]

Northeast Sector (SVS) amir Abdul Malik’s first video statement appeared on Islamdin two days earlier.  Abdul Malik is seen seated alone holding his Kalashnikov vertically in the seven and a half miniute video.  He urges all Mulsims to fight the jihad with their blood and property and submit to an amir and laments that those who do not have lost their proper faith.  Abdul Malik also notes that infidels are raping Muslim women and it should not matter where this happens for Muslims to join the jihad.[16]

One week after Abdul Malik’s first video, Islamdin posted the first from OVKBK Southeast Sector (YuVS) amir Khamza.  In the thirteen and a half minute video, Khamza, seated next to another well-armed and well-equipped mujahed in the forest, notes that jihad is ongoing across the territory of the Caucasus Emirate and the YuVS is responsible for jihadi activity in Lesken, Irvan, and Tersk Raions (Districts) and part of Cherekskii Raion in the KBR emphasizes.  In a long exegesis on Allah and jihad, he refers to several ayats in the Koran to impress upon Muslims their supposed obligation to engage in jihad against the infidel.  Each Muslim on the CE’s territory is obliged to submit to the authority of the CE’s amir Dokku ‘Abu Usman’ Umarov, the Prophet Mohammed, and Allah.[17]  The amir of the OVKBK’s Southwest Sector, Abu Khasan, also has been actively posting videos on Islamdin.  In December he posted two.[18]

Theo-ideologically, remain the vilaiayat most influenced by the teachings of the global jihadi revolutionary alliance’s leading philosopher – Sheikh Abu Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi.  The OVKBK’s websites continuously post fatwahs and to cover his status in and out of prions.[19]

Politically, like the CE’s other most active vilaiyat, the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV), the OVKBK is increasingly relying on qadis and Shariah law to establish dual sovereignty on ‘its’ territories.  However, in July this effort suffered a setback when its leading executor of shariah court decisions, amir ‘Suleiman’ Aslan (Arsen) Balkarov was gunned down by KBR police.[20]

The OVKBK mujahedin could number well over 100 mujahedin and perhaps as many as 200 actively fighting mujahedin.  As of mid-summer 2011 the Baksan Jamaat included at least 11 mujahedin, according to the KBR MVD’s wanted list, this after the authorities claimed to have liquidated 10 of the jamaat’s mujahedin since the beginning of the year. (“MVD: baksanskuyu gruppirovku boevikov v Kabardino-Balkarii vozglavil Zalim Tutov,” Kavkaz uzel, 26 July 2011, 22:50, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/189763/.)  A caveat here would be that in recent years and in 2011 the Baksan Jamaat was arguably the OVKBK’s most powerful jamaat, making a figure of 100-150 mujahedin more likely.[21] 

The KBR’s Hot December

The amirs’ nearly simultaneous issuance of video statements suggested a well-coordinated propaganda plan and that the KBR, where the OVKBK has been most active, would be in for a new wave of attacks carried out by the mujahedin.  Reminiscent of the decision to end the larger counter-terrorist operation (KTO) in Chechnya in April 2009 just as the CE was reviving the Riyadus Salikhiin Martryrs Brigade of suicide bombers and began an uptempo wave the of suicide and other operations, the authorities lifted the more local KTO that had been in force in the KBR’s Cherek and Chegem Raions since February 2011 after several attacks in the area.  The authorities claimed the situation had been “stabilized.”[22]

On December 5th, the OVKBK’s official website Islamdin issued a warning of sorts when it posted a video that included films of operations and photographs of some twenty law enforcement officers the OVKBK mujahedin claim to have killed over the last year or so.  There are also short clips of the “liquidaton” of an informer, a “wizard,” one Yusup Taukenov, two workmen, among others.[23]

Although matters gained steam slowly, by December the OVKBK’s operational tempo picked up, forcing the authorities into declaring several temporary special counter-terrorist operations.  In early December a cache of weapons was uncovered, and in three separate incidents three residents of Nalchik and likely mujahedin were captured with an improvised explosive device (IED), explosive materials, other weapons, and ammunition.[24]  The greenness of the new amirs seems to have been matched by novice rank-and-file mujahedin, resulting in a certain operational ineffectiveness.  On December 10th, a counter-terrorist operation was declared briefly around the village of Zhakhoteko in Baksan Raion after law enforcement organs received information that mujahedin were in the area.[25]

The inexperience of the OVKBK’s renewed cadres continued to show when on December 12th two were killed themselves after accidentally detonated a bomb they were preparing.[26] On the same day an MVD investigator was shot dead in the village of Islamee, Baksan Raion by an unknown assailant – a possible jihadi success.[27]  However, on the night of 13-14 December a special operation led to the killing of four mujahedin, two of whom, Takhir Dzhappuev and Yurii Tutov, may have been relatives of present Baksan Sector amir Zalim Tutov and the OVKBK’s late amir Askar Dzhappuev.[28]

Five days later, on December 19th, the OVKBK scored its first significant success under the new command, when mujahedin killed the alleged leader of the unofficial death squad known as the ‘Black Hawks’ (Chernyie yastreby), which first emerged in February 2011.  According to the Kavkaz uzel website affiliated with the human rights organization Memorial, citing a source in Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK), slain MVD Colonel and Extremism Center associate Vadim Sultanov was the leader of the alleged group supposedly dedicated to extrajudicial killing of OVKBK mujahedin.[29]  The OVKBK’s website posted a de facto claim of responsibility for killing Sultanov and claimed that Sultanov was involved in the killing of three civilians on December 15th.[30]  On the same day that Sultanov was killed, a transporter of alcoholic goods was gunned down as well.  Three mujahedin were also killed near the village of Bylyi in Elbrus Raion.[31]  On New Year’s Eve the OVKBK claimed responsibility for the killing of the commander of the KBR MVD’s SOBR or rapid reaction force, Colonel Murat Shkhagumov, who was killed in Baksan.[32]

Thus, 2011 eneded with a modest surge in OVKBK operational capacity.  Nevertheless, the OVKBK will be unlikely to avoid a drop in the number of operations carried out and casualties inflicted on siloviki and other state officials in 2011 as compared to 2010.  In 2010, according to IIPER’s estimate, the OVKBK carried out 113 attacks in the KBR, but it appears that it will fall short of 100 attacks in 2011.  IIPER will present its final estimates for attacks, violent incidents, and casualties for 2011 in the next issue, but as of the end of September, the KBR had seen just 65 attacks and violent incidents approximately in 2011.  A small portion of this shortfall may be compensated for by the higher number of attacks in the KChR and evidence of a more active OVKBK presence there.

The KChR Sector: Moving Towards Sochi?

The OVKBK covers not just the KBR but also the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya (KChR).  However, in contrast with their KBR operational network, the CE and OVKBK have been unable to establish a permanent network in the KChR.  Until last year, there had been little jihadi presence in the KChR since the demise of Jamaat No. 3 in the mid-2000s.  There has been little more than a handful of jihadi incidents in the KChR in recent years.  By contrast, there were nearly 110 in the KBR in 2010 and more than 20 in each of the previous two years, 2008 and 2009.

However, 2011 saw an increase in OVKBK activity on the KChR.  In addition to some 51 attacks in the KBR, there were 2 in the KChR during the first half of 2011.   Another rare jihadi-related violent incident occurred in the KChR in October when an alleged mujahed opened fire on police, killing one and wounding two in Uchkeken.[33]  On November 24th security forces surrounded Kanamat Saryiev, who was then killed in a shoutout. The Islamdin.com website of the CE’s United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya, and Karachai (OVKBK) seemed to claim Saryiev as one of the OVKBK mujahedin’s own, referring to him as “our brother.”  The report also noted that a second mujahed, Ruslan Bairamkulov, was wounded and captured in the incident.[34]

In December 2011, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) announced that security forces had killed four alleged mujahedin in the KChR village of Kumysh during a special operation on December 7th.  If true, this would be largest group of mujahedin uncovered in that republic in many years.  The incident occurred when police sought to stop a car in Cherkassk which they then chased to Kumysh where those inside the car fired on the siloviki.  The siloviki returned fire which set off a powerful explosion, killing and leaving only fragments of all those inside.  The authorities claimed that one of those killed, 27-year old Biaslan Gochiyaev, was appointed leader of the mujahedin in the KChR a little more than a year ago.  However, this information has never appeared on any CE site, including the OVKBK’s Islamdin.com.  The other alleged mujahedin included 25-year old Temurlan Totorkulov, 27-year old Valentin Dlugoborskii, and 33-year old Marina Urusova.  The latter two alleged mujahedin may have been ethnic Russians.  The NAK claimed that the group was preparing a series of terrorist operations and had been training.  It also reported that automatic firearms, explosives, and IEDs were found and that Urusova was to be used as a suicide bomber.[35]  Neither the OVKBK nor any mujahedin have ever carried out a suicide bombing in the KChR or the KBR. The CE mujahedin reporting on the incident seemed to indicate some doubt or at least did not confirm that those killed were mujahedin, but his is sometimes the case even though later the same website will confirm the martyrdom of the previously doubted mujahedin.[36]  Days later another alleged mujahedin was detained in the KChR and was said to be part of a jamaat of seven that had undertaken the attack on police in Uchkeken on October 29th.[37]

This brought the number of violent jihadi-related incidents and casualties in the KChR for 2011 to an unprecedented possible high of 6 violent incidents (4 jihadi attacks and 2 security forces’ special operations), 5 state agents killed and 6 wounded, and 11 mujahedin killed and 5 captured.  In 2011 there were 4 attacks in the KChR, but some of those could have been undertaken by the DV.  The increase in activity in the KChR suggests that perhaps the OVKBK is making a move to establish a permanent foothold in that republic as a stepping stone in the western direction towards Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games are to be held.



January saw the very active Kizlyar Sector of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat hit hard.  On January 14th Kizlyar Sector (KS) mujahed Ruslan Sagidkhadzheiv (Sagidhajiev) was killed and his brother Mukhtar Sagidkhadzheiv was captured.  Ruslan was said by the authorities to be Kizlyar mujahedin’s chief explosives expert.[38]

On January 27 the CE DV KS was hit hard again when 5 of its mujahedin were killed in a shootout with Dagestan MVD police, in which three policemen were killed and two were wounded.  The five mujahedin were said by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) of having been invlolved in numerous jihadi attacks in Kizlyar on peaceful citizens and Islamic clergy and in extorting money for their jihad from businessmen.  The names of the mujahedin have not yet been released.[39]



The Caucasus Emirate-affiliated website UmmaNews.com continues to issue monthly reports on the number of attacks carried out by the CE mujahedin and the casualties that have resulted from those attacks (and presumably Russian counter-terrorism operations) among both Russian state agents and on the side of the mujahedin as well in the North Caucasus.  The data jihadi does not include either the 24 January 2011 Moscow Domodedovo Airport suicide bombing carried out by the CE, its Riyadus Salikhiin Martyrs’ Brigade (RSMB) and ethnic Ingush suicide bomber and Ingushetiya native Magomed Yevloev or the bomb detonated next to Moscow’s FSB Academy for which the RSMB claimed responsibility.  IIPER adds those two attacks and the resulting casualties to the mujahedin’s official data below.  The data does include the two 14 February 2011 coordinated suicide bombings carried out in Gubden, Dagestan by the ethnic Russian couple of Vitallii Razdobudko and Maria Khorosheva.  Also, since the reports continue to divide fatalities and wounded into the categories of kafiry (infidels) and murtady or marionetki (apostates or puupets), we are unable to delineate between casualties among state agents and those among civilians from the jihadi sources, as we do for our own estimate.  Therefore, we are including the total number of fatalities and wounded.

The jihadists’ data for 2011 show 741 attacks: 739 carried out in the North Caucasus and 2 in Moscow (see Table).  The largest number of CE attacks continues to be carried out by the


Table 1. CE Data on Number of Attacks and Casualties in 2011 (the figure in parentheses is the figure for November 28 – December 31, 2011).

Vilaiyat of the  Caucasus Emirate  










Nokchicho Vilaiyat or NV (Chechnya)       81 (7)           

104 (1)


182 (1)


26 (1)

Galgaiche Vilaiyat or GV


    101 (3)  

    36 (1)


46 (3)


   15 (0)

Dagestan Vilaiyat or DV


    458 (29)   275 (8)  

  443 (0)

 100 (4)



      94 (0)


    63 (5)


    58 (1)


   48 (10)


Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat**


        5 (0)


      6 (0)


7 (0)

     0 (0)



        2 (0)

   38 (0)    180 (0)  

     1 (0)



    741 (39)  

 522 (15)


  916 (5)

 190 (15)

*OVKBK – the United Vilaiyat of Kabardiya, Balkariya and Karachai, the CE’s jihadi network the North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkariya and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya.  There appears to be a problem with the reporting on the OVKBK’s attacks, since the same CE source reported that the OVKBK had carried out 108 attacks by the end of November – 14 more than the final annual total.  Moreover, the OVKBK’s websites reported several attacks undertaken by OVKBK mujahedin in December.

** Nogai Steppe Vilaiyat covers the North Caucasus regions of Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai for the CE.

*** These two attacks and the attendant casualties include the high-casualty 24 January 2011 suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodeovo Airport and a bomb detonated near the FSB Academy that resulted in no casualties.  These two attacks were not included in the mujahedin’s numbers on operations in the North Caucasus.


SOURCE: “Itogovaya svodka Dzhikhada v Imarate Kavkaz za 1432 god (2011 g.),” Kavkaz tsentr, 5 January 2012, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/01/05/87934.shtml.


CE’s Dagestani mujahedin, the so-called Dagestan Viliayat (DV) mujahedin.  This has been the case for nearly two years, since April 2010.  Now, according to the mujahedin’s data, 62 percent of the jihadi attacks carried out in Russia this year have occurred in Dagestan.  The Chechen mujahedin of the CE’s Nokchicho (Chechnya) Vilaiyat (NV) continue to be the laggards, according to the CE’s data.  The CE’s Galgaiche Vilaiyat (GV) covering Ingushetiya and North Ossetiya remained ahead of Chechnya.  The OVKBK, covering Kabardino-Balkariya and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, continues to be the second most active vilaiyat, as it has been since spring of 2010.  In sum, the CE’s own data continues to show that the Caucasus jihad remains largely a Dagestani effort.

IIPER will be coming out with its data for 2011 in one of the next few issues.



[1] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman izmenil status naselenie Rossii i otdal prokaz izbegat atak na grazhdanskie tseli,” Kavkaz tsentr, 3 February 2012, 01:06, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/02/03/88591.shtml.

[2] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman izmenil status naselenie Rossii i otdal prokaz izbegat atak na grazhdanskie tseli,” Kavkaz tsentr, 3 February 2012, 01:06, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/02/03/88591.shtml.

[3] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman izmenil status naselenie Rossii i otdal prokaz izbegat atak na grazhdanskie tseli,” Kavkaz tsentr, 3 February 2012, 01:06, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/02/03/88591.shtml.

[4] “Amir IK Dokku Abu Usman izmenil status naselenie Rossii i otdal prokaz izbegat atak na grazhdanskie tseli,” Kavkaz tsentr, 3 February 2012, 01:06, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/02/03/88591.shtml.

[5] “Siloviki soobshchayut o zavershayushchei stadii operatsii v Chechne,” Kavkaz uzel, 10 January 2012, 12:40, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/199005/.

[6] “Vilaiyat Nokchicho’. V boyakh v Vedenskom raione unichtozheno 10 i raneno ot 20 do 25,” Kavkaz tsentr, 10 January 2012, 19:35, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/01/10/88035.shtml.

[7] “NAK: V Ingushetii ubit odin iz liderov ‘Imarata Kavkaz’, preemnik ‘Magas’,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 January 2012, 15:52, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/200013/; “V khode spetsoperatsii v Ingushetii ubit glavar’ ‘Imarata Kavkaz’,” Polit.ru, 27 January 2012, 12:24, http://polit.ru/news/2012/01/27/killed/; and “Vilaiyat G’alg’aiche. Kafiry soobshchayut o Shakhade trekh mudzhakhedov v Ekazhevo,” Kavkaz tsentr, 27 January 2012, 11:50 and 16:55, http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2012/01/27/88433.shtml.

[8] “NAK: V Ingushetii ubit odin iz liderov ‘Imarata Kavkaz’, preemnik ‘Magas’,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 January 2012, 15:52, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/200013/.

[9] See my profile of Astemirov in IIPER, Nos. 19, 20, 23, and 25.  On his killing by security forces see IIPER, No. 13.

[10] “Baksanskii dzhamaat,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 July 2011, 00:00, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/189804/.

[11] “Shura amirov sectorov Vilaiyata KBK,” Islamdin.biz, 20 October, 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/10/blog-post_30.html.

[12] “Shura amirov sectorov Vilaiyata KBK,” Islamdin.biz, 20 October, 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/10/blog-post_30.html.

[13] “MVD: baksansjuyu gruppirovku boevikov v Kabardino-Balkarii vozglavil Zalim Tutov,” Kavkaz uzel, 26 July 2011, 22:50, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/189763/.

[14] “Prokuratura Kabardino-Balkarii prosit sud priznat’ sait ‘Dzhamaat Takbir’ ekstrimistskim,” Kavkaz uzel, 7 December 2011, 15:06, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197173/.

[15] “Obrashchenie amira Tsentral’nogo sektora Umara,” Islamdin.biz, 16 November 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/11/blog-post_16.html.

[16] “Obrashchenie amira Severo-vostochnogo sektora Abdul’ Malika,” Islamdin.biz, 14 November 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/11/blog-post_14.html.

[17] “Obrashchenie amira Yugo-Vostochnogo sektora Khamzy,” Islamdin.biz, 22 November 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/11/blog-post_22.html.

[18] The earlier of the two Abu Khasan videos does not have a separate page or URL but remained on the video side column of Islamdin’s front page as of Februaty 5th, 2012.  Titled “Obrashenie amira Abu Khasan, the video shows the amir seated between two other mujahedin. The later video can be found at “Kratkoe obrashchenie amira Abu Khasan,” Islamdin.biz, 23 December 2011,  http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/blog-post_23.html

[19] One recent Maqdisi fatwah posted on the OVKBK website can be found at “Sheikh Abu Mukhammad al-Makdisi” ‘O tom, kto ne molitsya v mechetyakh po prichine spionazha i slezhki’,” Islamdin.biz, 27 December 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/blog-post_27.html.

[20] “Ubityi v Nalchike Balkarov privodil v isponenie prigovory shariatskogo suda,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 July 2011, 11:10, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/189782/.

[21] “Baksanskii dzhamaat,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 July 2011, 00:00, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/189804/.

[22] “V Cherekskom raione Kabardino-Balkarii snyat rezhim KTO,” Kavkaz uzel, 6 December 2011, 23:40, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197132/.

[23] A partial list of the names of those killed and in the photographs includes: Chief of the Criminal Investigation MVD for the KBR Col. Zuber Shukaev, authorized operative of the MVD Criminal Investigation Administration Maj. Zaur Mazanov, Station Chief of the Baksan Inter-Municipal Department of the MVD Maj. Zaur Chipov, Senior Operative of the Physical Protection Section of Department ‘M’ of the Special Forces Unit ‘Terek’ of the Mian Administration of the MVD of the North Caucasus Federal District and a Junior Lieutenant (no name with the photograph), Chief Mufti and Chairman of the Main Spiritual Administration of the KBR Anas Pshikhachev, Senior Station Chief of the First Police Department of the Department of the UUM for the city of Nalchik Sr. Lt. Martin Gegirov, Station Officer in Chegem Raion Jr Lt. Murat Mambetov, Senior Station Operative of the Chegem Raion MVD Maj. Chaniuar Sokurov, Senior Operative of the Physical Protection Section of Department ‘M’ of the Special Forces Unit ‘Terek’ of the Mian Administration of the MVD of the North Caucasus Federal District Lt. Zaurbek Gukepshev, Station Inspector of the Baksan Municipal MVD Department Maj. Asker Malukhov, Propaganda Inspector of the Traffic Patrol Service (DPS) of the Chegem Raion MVD Lt. Alim Nazranov, DPS Inspector of the Chegem Raion MVD Lt. Zaur Tambiev, village administration head in Khasan Ramazan Friev, DPS Inspector of the Chegem Raion MVD Lt. Artur Batov, DPS Inspector of the Chegem Raion MVD Sr. Lt. Azret Unezhev, DPS Inspector of the Chegem Raion MVD Cpt. Akhed Sogov, Criminal Ivestigations Operative in Nalchik city’s MVD Cpt. Azamat Nyrov, Chegem Raion Administration Head Mikhail Mambetov, Stavropol Special Forces Lt. Sergei Arapov, Stavropol Special Forces Sr. Sgt. Aleksandr Chernenko, Stavropol Special Forces Lt. Maksim Lugovskoi, Station Inspoector of the 2nd Department of the UUM of the Nalchik city MVD Timur Dolov, Deputy Commander of Special Forces and MVD OMON troops Col. Zamir Dikinov, Deputy Chief of the KBR MVD’s Center for the Struggle with Extremism Col. Khazan Bogatyrev, Deputy Chief of the KBR MVD’s Criminal Investigation Department Col. Albert Sizhazhev,  Senior Operative of the Special Forces Unit of the Main Administration of the MVD for the North Caucasus Federal District Sr. Lt. Muradin Bezhdugov, Baksan Raion MVD Operative Sr. Lt. Husein Nakhushev, among others. “Operatsii mudzhakhidov v Vilaiyate KBK. Chast’ 2,” Islamdin.biz, 5 December 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/2_05.html.

[24] “U zhitelei Kabardino-Balkarii iz”yaty oruzhie, vzryvchatka i boepripasy,” Kavkaz uzel, 7 December 2011, 15:00, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197172/ and “U zhitelei Kabardino-Balkarii iz”yaty bomba i boepripasy,” Kavkaz uzel, 9 December 2011, 12:50, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197311/.

[25] “V Baksanskom raione Kabardino-Balkarii otmenen rezhim KTO,” Kavkaz uzel, 10 December 2011, 15:01, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197379/.

[26] “SK: boeviki v Kabardino-Balkarii pogibli iz-za neostorozhnogo obrashcheniya s bomboi,” Kavkaz uzel, 14 December 2011, 11:08, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197604/.

[27] “MVD Kabardino-Balkarii vedet poisk ubiits sledovatelya politsii,” Kavkaz uzel, 13 December 2011, 10:55, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197538/.

[28] “Ustanovleny lichnosti ubitykh v khode spetsoperatsii v Kabardino-Balkarii,” Kavkaz uzel, 14 December 2011, 13:07, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197613/.

[29] “Ubityi v poselke Khasan’ya ofitser byl liderom ‘Chernykh yastrebov,’ zayavlyaet istochnik,” Kavkaz uzel, 21 December 2011, 02:09, http://kabardino-balkaria.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/198011/.

[30] “Unichtozhennyi podpolkovnik Sultanov okazalsya glavarem bandy ‘Chernykh yastreby,’” Islamdin.biz, 20 December 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/blog-post_20.html.

[31] “V Kabardino-Balkarii ubit voditel’ spirtovoza,” Kavkaz uzel, 20 December 2011, 23:51, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/196132/.

[32] “V gorode Baksan likvidirovan ocherednoi polkovnik, Vilaiyat KBK,” Islamdin.biz, 31 December 2011, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/blog-post_560.html.

[33] “V Karachaevo-Cherkessii zaderzhan predpolagaemyi boevik,” Kavkaz uzel, 10 December 2012, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197352/.

[34] “Perestrelka v gorode Cherkesske. Vilaiyat IKB IK,” Islamdin.com, 25 November 2011, www.islamdin.biz/2011/11/blog-post_4701.html.

[35] “V Karachaevskovo-Cherkessi ubity chetvero predpolagaemykh boevikov,” Kavkaz uzel, 8 December 2011, 15:50, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197255/.

[36] “V Karachaevskom sektore ubity chetvero musul’man. Vilaiyat KBK IK,” Islamdin.biz, 8 December 2011, 21:09, http://www.islamdin.biz/2011/12/blog-post_08.html#more.

[37] “V Karachaevo-Cherkessii zaderzhan predpolagaemyi boevik,” Kavkaz uzel, 10 December 2012, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/197352/.

[38] “Ustanovlena lichnost’ ubitogo v khode spetsoperatsii v Dagestane,” Kavkaz tsentr, 14 January 2012, 19:40, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/199260/.

[39] “NAK: ubityie v Dagestane boeviki vkhodili v kizlyarskuyu gruppirovku,” Kavkaz uzel, 27 January 2012, 18:50, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/200039/.




          The CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program published a special report in August by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn, “Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right” which IIPER readers may find of interest.  It can be downloaded at http://csis.org/files/publication/110930_Hahn_GettingCaucasusEmirateRt_Web.pdf.


               Islam, Islamism and Politics in Eurasia Report (IIPER) is a project of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  It focuses on all politically-relevant issues involving or bearing on Islam, Islamism, and Jihadism in Russia and Eurasia writ large.  All issues of IIPER will soon be permanently archived at http://csis.org/program/russia-and-eurasia-program.  All back issues temporarily remain archived at: http://www.miis.edu/academics/faculty/ghahn/report.

               IIPER is compiled, edited and, unless indicated otherwise, written by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn.  Dr. Hahn is a Senior Associate (Non-Resident) in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor at the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP), Monterey, California.  He is also a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group and an Analyst and Consultant for Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com.  He teaches courses on both politics and terrorism in Russia and Eurasia at MonTREP.  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 on any aspect of Islamic, Islamist, or Jihadist politics in Eurasia as well as financial contributions to support the project.  For related inquiries or to request to be included on IIPER’s mailing list, please contact:

Dr. Gordon M. Hahn

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

Email: ghahn@miis.edu or gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net

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