Public Service Announcement: This Is An Academic Blog NOT A PRO-JIHAD SITE

It has been brought to my attention that some individuals are apparently incapable of reading the About page or any of my posts, and based on the title of this blog are laboring under the delusion that it a pro-jihad site run by Chechens.

I had thought this was patently obvious…

This blog tracks North Caucasian militants in Syria and Iraq and the impact of their participation in the Syrian battlefield on the insurgency in the North Caucasus.

Two more “Medina students” – a Dagestani & a Kyrgyz – killed near Mosul

Islamic State Russian-speaking social media accounts are reporting today (24 November) that the day before yesterday, i.e. 22 November, two more “Medina students” (мединские студенты — the name given in Russian to individuals who have studied in Medina) have been killed in fighting on the outskirts of Mosul. Continue reading Two more “Medina students” – a Dagestani & a Kyrgyz – killed near Mosul

‘IS’s Abu Waheeb Really Liked North Caucasians’ & Notes On Circassians & Shishanis

An Islamic State militant from Dagestan posted on social media about Abu Waheeb, the IS leader who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in May 2016, talking about how he really loved North Caucasian fighters. Continue reading ‘IS’s Abu Waheeb Really Liked North Caucasians’ & Notes On Circassians & Shishanis

Tarkhan’s Jamaat Renames Itself Katibat Ibad Ar-Rahman

The Chechen-led group Tarkhan’s Jamaat (Джамаат Тархана) — which is, of course, the Jamaat of Chechen amir Tarkhan Gaziyev — has renamed itself this week to Katibat Ibad ar-Rahman. Continue reading Tarkhan’s Jamaat Renames Itself Katibat Ibad Ar-Rahman

Khalid Shishani On Why Sayfullakh Shishani & Umar Fell Out

Someone on Twitter asked me why Sayfullakh Shishani left Umar Shishani’s jamaat back in 2013.

I realized that I had translated part of a letter written by Khalid Shishani, who used to be part of Sayfullakh’s jamaat, who gave his account of what had happened. Umar is not portrayed in a good light here — Khalid did not admire Umar. However, it seems as if I did not post my translation anywhere (if I did, I cannot find it here — the search has been terribly slow lately. Anyway it can’t do any harm to post it twice.) Continue reading Khalid Shishani On Why Sayfullakh Shishani & Umar Fell Out

“ЗАПИСКИ ИЗ МИНБИДЖА” (Notes from Manbij) — A Poem

Over the past weeks, as fighting raged in Manbij in Syria between IS and U.S.-backed fighters, a number of missives have emerged from the town and have been shared on Russian-speaking IS channels. A number of Russian-speaking fighters from a Russian-speaking battalion has been trapped in Manbij. Continue reading “ЗАПИСКИ ИЗ МИНБИДЖА” (Notes from Manbij) — A Poem

‘The Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’

Since the announcement of Umar Shishani’s death on 13 July, there has been a process of mythologizing of Umar on Russian-language IS channels and other social media channels. This has been carried out both by “official” channels but also by regular posters on Telegram chats and Facebook. I’ve written about this in a piece for IHS Janes if you have access to that. Some of the mythologizing has taken the form of storytelling about Umar, which serve to emphasize some of his traits — in particular that he was a humble man who deeply loved his fellow North Caucasian IS fighters, who in turn loved him back. Here is the Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’, plus some photos of Young Umar & Umar’s House.

Continue reading ‘The Story Of How Umar Shishani Went Hungry So The Brothers Could Eat’

Umar Shishani’s Biographer Distances Him From Imarat Kavkaz Bayah

Just a few notes about something I found interesting in the recent biography of Umar Shishani that has been published in IS’s An Naba magazine, in the light of my recent post about the early days of the North Caucasian involvement in the Syrian conflict, and the ongoing attempts by Umar Shishani’s camp in IS (led by Abu Jihad) to deny that both Umar and Abu Jihad ever had a bayah (pledge of allegiance) to the Caucasus Emirate.

tl;dr: Abu Jihad throws shade at Imarat Kavkaz with the ultimate diss — pretending they never existed.

Continue reading Umar Shishani’s Biographer Distances Him From Imarat Kavkaz Bayah

Meet Alibek, Ethnic Karachay Close To Abu Jihad Who Helps Run Furat Media

For the past few months, we have been tracking Voenkorr, one of the most prolific Russian-speaking Islamic State members who is also involved in IS’s Russian-language media group run by Abu Jihad. Here is some very interesting information about his background and radicalization, which ultimately led to his joining IS. Continue reading Meet Alibek, Ethnic Karachay Close To Abu Jihad Who Helps Run Furat Media