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Caucasus Emirate (CE)
Imarat Kavkaz (IK)
Imirat Kavkaz
Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus

The militant group led by Chechen warlord Doku Umarov was eliminated in 2013, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said 10 April 2014. Commenting on previous media rumors on the fate of Umarov's group, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said the official announcement had been withheld from the public until now "for specific operational and political reasons." Bortnikov said "The time will come when we will inform the public about how it was done". Umarov, whose death had not been confirmed, was considered one of the most notorious leaders of the North Caucasus terrorist underground. Umarov died in August 2013, possibly after being poisoned.

Despite Russian successes in killing the leading militants of the Chechen wars— Shamil Basayev, Ibn al-Khattab, Abu Hafs al-Hudani, Abu al-Walid, Doku Umarov— the insurgents have not given up, regrouping under a new leader reportedly based in Dagestan, immediately to the east of Chechnya. Umarov's successor was ‘Sheikh Ali Abu Muhammad ad-Dagestani’ (born Aliaskhab Alibutatovich Kebekov).

The ongoing conflict in Russia's North Caucasus region continues to pose a threat to the stability of Russia, and to areas well beyond its borders. What began as an independence movement from the Russian Federation for one small ethnic group has evolved into a front in the global jihadist movement. As the movement for Chechen independence faltered, insurgents increasingly relied on Islamic ideologies to expand the conflict and attract support and funding from the greater Islamic community. The current insurgent leader declared the creation of the Caucasus Emirate (Imarat Kavkaz, IK) in 2007, which corresponds to Russia s North Caucasus region and purports to represent Russia's Muslim community. After nearly two decades of war, Russia has been unable to fully return stability to the area and the insurgents continue to attack Russian security forces in the region, as well as engage in horrific terror attacks in the heart of the Russian Federation.

The Caucasus Emirate was declared by its leader Doku Umarov (Abu Usman) in October 2007. The Caucasus Emirate seeks to establish a Taliban-style Sharia-based Islamist state on sovereign Russian Federation, Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani territory. The Caucasus Emirate has declared jihad against the Russian Federation, the United States, Great Britain, Israel, and any other state fighting international terrorists. The Caucasus Emirate and Al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations cooperate with each other and often support each other with regard to personnel, training, financing, and propaganda.

Although the CE has stated that it has no conflict with the US, and will not harm any civilians, including Russians, this was not the case. Since its creation in 2007, the Caucasus Emirate has committed over 900 terrorist attacks on Russian territory, killing more than 900 and wounding more than 1,500 civilians, government officials, police, military, and security personnel. Such acts of violence against civilian targets are clearly intended to spread fear across all levels of society, injure, at least psychologically, a far greater number of people than those physically present at the scene of the attack, and thus constitute terrorism.

Caucasus Emirate uses bombings, shootings and attempted assassinations to provoke a revolution and expel the Russian government from the North Caucasus region. The goal was to establish an Islamic emirate through violence in the North Caucasus, Southern Russia, and Volga regions of the Russian Federation. In December 2009, investigators identified a May 15, 2009 suicide bombing outside the Chechnya Interior Ministry as being organized under Doku Umarov, IK’s senior leader. Since its attack against a Russia high-speed rail train in November 2009, IK has continued to threaten the Government of Russia. In addition to its attack on the high-speed Nevsky Express, IK also claimed responsibility for the January 2011 bombing at the Domodedovo airport that killed 36 people.

The leader of Islamist rebel forces in Russia's North Caucasus region has been killed, the militants' main mouthpiece reported 18 March 2014. In an item posted on the Kavkaz Center website, the Caucasus Emirate jihadist umbrella group announced the "martyrdom" of its leader, Chechen rebel commander Doku Umarov. It provided no details of where, when or under what circumstances Umarov was killed. Kavkaz Center also reported Tuesday that Ali Abu Muhhammad, the Caucasus Emirate's Sharia judge, had been chosen to succeed him as the group's "emir," or leader. The website also posted a video of the new leader commenting on his predecessor and his new position.

Doku Umarov was the senior leader and military commander of the North Caucasus-based Caucasus Emirate (CE) group. CE’s stated goal was to establish an Islamic Emirate through violence, with Umarov as its Emir. Under Umarov’s leadership, CE was responsible for carrying out suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism. CE has employed violent tactics under Umarov’s command, involving improvised explosive devices (IED), vehicle-born IEDs, and suicide bombings. Umarov has claimed responsibility for various attacks including the 2010 Moscow subway bombings, which killed 40 people. He claimed to have masterminded the 2009 Nevsky Express train bombing, which killed 28 people.

Umarov was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 in June 2010 and listed at the United Nations 1267 al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee on March 10, 2011. “The designation of Caucasus Emirate is in response to the threats posed to the United States and Russia,” said Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism. “The attacks perpetrated by Caucasus Emirate illustrate the global nature of the terrorist problem we face today. We stand in solidarity with the Russian people in our condemnation of these deplorable terrorist acts.”

In March 2011, Umarov was listed at the United Nations 1267 al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee. And in June 2010, Umarov was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, which provided the U.S. government with the legal means to disrupt Umarov's financial support network. On May 26, 2011 the US Secretary of State designated North Caucasus-based Caucasus Emirate (Imarat Kavkaz, IK) under Presidential Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists, terrorist organizations or acts of terrorism. This action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to the group. This designation represents just one phase of the United States Government’s response to the threat posed by Caucasus Emirate. The action taken today against IK supports the U.S. effort to degrade the group’s ability to mount attacks on Russian interests.

Additionally, in Dagestan the organization known as Shariat Jammat poses a considerable threat, and was linked or a part of the larger IK. Shariat Jammat aligns itself with jihadist/salafist movements and motivations.Its goal, allied with IK, was to establish an Islamic Caliphate in the Caucasus. Together, the jihadist threat in the Caucasus was not a nationalistic Chechen movement, but a larger network of jihadist connected and networked to the global jihad. It was also a Caucasian threat, than a Chechen threat, emanating mostly from individuals from Dagestan.

The tactics and bombs used in the 2013 Boston marathon attack that killed three and injured more than 200 resemble attacks carried out in Chechnya, including delayed, multiple explosions, though the bombs themseleves were different and this tactic was pretty common. Ethnic Chechen Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a gunfight with police following a manhunt that shut down Boston, and his younger brother Dzhokhar, 19, were suspected of carrying out the attack. A trip the elder Tsarnaev made in 2012 to Russia's volatile Dagestan, where the brothers spent time as children, aroused suspicions he might have made contact with militant groups that wage daily violence to establish an Islamist state there.

On 21 April 2013 a statement from the Caucasus Emirate was not at war with the United States, distancing itself from last week's Boston Marathon bombing. "Caucasian mujahideen are not carrying out military actions against the United States. We are fighting with Russia, which is responsible not only for the occupation of the Caucasus but for monstrous crimes against Muslims," said the statement, which did not outright deny any links with the attacks or Tamerlan.

On July 03, 2013 Doku Umarov urged followers on Wednesday to use "maximum force" to prevent President Vladimir Putin staging the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He said a February 2012 order to halt attacks that would harm civilians and not to attack Russian targets outside the North Caucasus had been cancelled. "They [Russia] plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we as mujahedeen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah," Umarov said in the four-minute video. "I call on you, every mujahid, either in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan or on the territory of the Caucasus to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors," he said, referring to predominantly Muslim regions in Russia that are far from the North Caucasus.

Umarov released a video in July 2013 threatening to attack to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Those games were held without incident in February 2014.

According to Alexander Bortnikov, the Chairman of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, by August 2014 federal forces had managed to "eliminate" a total of 158 militants during the year. However, the complex domestic situation in the North Caucasus compelled Moscow to combine hard measures with soft power. The new strategy was aimed at developing local infrastructure and improving the socio-economic situation in the region. Unemployment, poverty and a lack of proper religious education resulted in the radicalization of many young people, who considered extremist activity the only way to survive and express their grievances.

The North Caucasus insurgency confirmed that one of the insurgents killed during a counterterror operation on 19 April 2015 on the outskirts of the Daghestani town of Buinaksk was Aliaskhab Kebekov, aka Amir Ali Abu-Muhammad, the Avar theologian who was chosen in early 2014 to succeed Doku Umarov as leader of the Caucasus Emirate that Umarov had proclaimed in 2007.

A message posted online claims that Islamist militants in four regions of Russia's Caucasus pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. The voice recording posted on YouTube on 21 June 2015 said militants in Daghestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria regions had all sworn fealty to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The leader of the self-proclaimed Caucasus Emirate, Magomed Suleimanov, was killed in a special operation in Russia's North Caucasus region of Daghestan on August 11. Russia's National Antiterrorist Committee said that Suleimanov and his second-in-command were among four militants killed by security forces in Daghestan's Untsukul district. The pro-militant website Kavkazcenter.com confirmed that Suleimanov, also known as Abu Usman Gimrinsky, "became a martyr" in the August 11 operation. Suleimanov was announced as the leader of the Caucasus Emirate in April after its previous leader, Aliaskhab Kebekov, was killed by Russia's security forces.

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Page last modified: 29-09-2015 19:11:44 ZULU