by Gordon M. Hahn
Caucasus Emirate (CE) amir Abu Usman al-Gimravii (Gimrinskii), born Magomed Suleimanov, has appointed a veteran of the jihad in Syria as his successor as the amir of the Mountain Sector of the CE’s Dagestan Vilaiyat (DV). The appointee is Abu Dujan Mukhammad al-Gimrinskii. According to the brief biography provided by VDagestan.com, the DV’s official website, Gimrinskii studied “Shariah science” and Arabic in Syria in 2003 and graduated from the Shariah law institute ‘Tahzib va Taalim’ in 2007. Returning to Dagestan he engaged in proselytizing Islam and returned to northern Syria in 2013. There, he trained in the ‘Sheikh Suleiman’ training camp and fought in the ‘liberation’ of Maarat al-Artyk as well as in Kafa al-Harma, Hubbul va Zahra, Mayer and elsewhere. After acquiring “sufficient combat experience”, he returned to Dagestan to “continue jihad.” The announcement comes with two photographs, at least one of which shows Gimrinskii in Syria. The same photo also has one mujahedin in the background smudged out in order, apparently, to make him unidentifiable (http://vd.ag/muxiammad-abu-dudzhana-gimrinskij-amir-gs-vd.djihad).
That a top leadership position has gone to a veteran of the Syrian jihad puts the CE in a slightly better position to compete in terms of connections to and resources from the larger global jihadi revolutionary movement with the Islamic State’s affiliate in the North Caucasus, the Caucasus Vilaiyat of the Ilsamic State (Vilaiyat Kavkaz Islamskogo Gosudarstvo), formed in recent months. The remnants of the CE have sided with Al Qa`ida, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and others opposed to the Islamic State.
Gimravii-Suleimanov was also the Shariah court qadi of the CE’s DV when he replaced Ali Abu Mukhammad ad-Dagistani (born Aliaskhab Kebekov) as CE amir. The former has still not appointed a new DV qadi. Moreover, given the deaths of Dagistani-Kebekov and his predecessor, ‘Abu Usman’ Doku Umarov in rapid succession in September 2013 and April 2015, respectively, the CE is still without a qadi for its top Shairah court post – CE Shariah court qadi. Late amir Dagistani-Kebekov is the last qadi of the CE’s Shariah court.
Thus, the top leadership of the CE and its four vilaiyats — from what is known after the mass defections of amirs and mujahedin to IS — is as shown in the table below.
CAUCASUS EMIRATE (CE) TOP STRUCTURE AND LEADERSHIP, as of 25 July 2015
CAUCASUS EMIRATE CENTRAL COMMAND
Amir – Amir: Abu Usman Gimravii ‘Gimrinskii’ (Magomed Suleimanov), May 2015 – present. Predecessors: ‘Ali Abu Mukhammad ad-Dagistani’ – Amir of the CE and its Chechnya network ‘Nokchicho Vilaiyat’ (NV) killed 20 April 2015; ‘Abu Usman’ Doku Umarov – killed 8 September 2013.
Naib – unknown.
Qadi – unknown. Previous: ‘Ali Abu Mukhammad ad-Dagistani’ (born Aliaskhab Kebekov).
Military Amir – Unknown. Predecessors: ‘Khamzat’ Aslan Byutukaev (defected to Islamic State, June 2015); ‘Adam’ Jamalleil Mutaliev (GV amir, killed May 20, 2013, http://hunafa.com/?p=14948); ‘Magas’ Ali Taziyev (captured June 2010).
Riyadus-Salikhiin Martyrs Brigade – unknown. Predecessors: ‘Khamzat’ Aslan Byutukaev (defected to Islamic State, June 2015); ‘Abu Idris’ Shamil Basayev, 1999-2006.
Envoy to Arab Countries – Salim al-Kavkazi, (runs the CE’s official Arabic language http://www.i-qooqaz.com website, http://www.i-qooqaz.com/?page_id=196 and http://www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2014/03/03/103405.shtml).
Editor of CE’s main website Kavkaz tsentr (www.kavkazcenter.com) – Ruslan (Muslim) Sinbagirov.
DAGESTAN VILAIYAT (DV)
DV Amir/Vali – Sayid ‘Abu Mukhamad’ Arakanskiy, May 2015 – present.
DV Amir’s Naib – unknown.
DV’s Shariah Court Qadi – unknown. Previous: Sheikh Muhammad Abu Usman Al-Gimravii (b. Magomed Suleimanov), also DV Mountain Sector’s amir.
SHAMILKALA (MAKHACHKALA) SECTOR: Amir – unknown. Predecessors: Abu Mukhammad Agachaulskii (defected to IS).
MOUNTAIN SECTOR: Amir – ‘Abu Dujan Mukhammad al-Gimirinskii’, July 2015.
CENTRAL SECTOR: Amir – Umar Balakanskii? (defected IS?).
SOUTHERN SECTOR: Amir – Abu Yasir? (defected IS?).
NORTHERN SECTOR: Amir – Asadullah? (defected IS?)
Khasavyurt Jamaat: Amir – Islam? (defected IS?)
NOKCHICHO VILAIYAT (NV) (Chechnya): Amir – unknown. Predecessors: ‘Khamzat’ Aslan Byutukaev – (also CE Military Amir, NV amir and Amir of the Riyadus-Salikhiin Martyrs Brigade); late CE amir ‘Abu Usman’ Doku Umarov.
Naib – unknown.
Qadi – unknown.
Eastern Front Amir – unknown (Markhan defected to IS, May 2015).
Western Front Amir – Islam.
GALGAICHE VILAIYAT (GV) (Ingushetiya): Amir – Unknown. Predecessor: ‘Abdullah’ Artur Gatagazhev (killed 23 May 2014).
Malgobek Sector Amir – Abdur Rakhim (cited 6 April 2015).
UNITED VILAIYAT OF KABARDIYA, BALKARIYA, AND KARACHAI (OVKBK):
Amir – Salim (September 2014 – present, http://www.islamdin.com/video/1805-baygat.html).
Naib – unknown.
Qadi – unknown.
NORTHEAST SECTOR – Amir: Unknown.
Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch; and Senior Researcher and Adjunct Professor, MonTREP, Monterey, California. Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics and wrote, edited and published the Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Report at CSIS from 2010-2013. Dr. Hahn has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute.