by Gordon M. Hahn
The Caucasus-ISIS connection continues to intensify, and it is coming to the West. In December and early January leading Caucasus Emirate (CE) amirs controlling perhaps as many as 70 percent of the CE’s mujahedin declared their loyalty to ISIS’s amir and ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They include the amir of the CE’s most robust network, the Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV) based in Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, who took the oath or ‘bayat’ in December, and the air controlling approximately half of the Chechnya (or Nokchicho Vilaiyat) network’s mujahedin. CE amir Ali Abu Muhammad al-Dagistani (born Aliaskhab Kebekov), who supports Al Qa`ida in the conflict with ISIS for leadership of the gobal jihadi revolutionary movement, regarded this as betrayal and expelled the DV amirs from the CE. On January 6th a female resident of Dagestan, Diana Ramazova, carried out a suicide bombing of a police station Istanbul, Turkey, killing one policeman and wounding another (www.aksam.com.tr/…/sultanahmet-bombacisi-rus-d…/haber-370934). Days later two Dagestanis and four Chechens were detained in connection with the attack (www.themoscowtimes.com/…/dagestanis-detained-in…/514365.html). In short, the attack has a strong Caucasus signature. It also has an ISIS one. Recent reports indicate that Ramazova was married to a ‘martyred’ ISIS fighter, a Chechen immigrant to Norway named Abu Aluevitsy Edelbiyev. Ramazova came to Turkey in May 2014 where she met Eldebiyev. They married and then left for Syria, where Edelbiyev was killed in December. Ramazova was somehow able to afford a thousand-mile taxi reide from Syria to Istanbul, where she carried out her attack (www.theguardian.com/…/pregnant-istanbul-suicide-bomber-russ…). It remains unclear whether the CE or the breakaway ISIS-loyal CE (IS CE) was directly involved in the attack.