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.

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

Photos of Salakhuddin Shishani & Akhmad Chatayev In Pankisi Before Lopota Gorge Incident

New photos have emerged of Salakhuddin Shishani (formerly Amir of JMA/Imarat Kavkaz in Syria and now Amir of Jaish Usro), and a Chechen named Naib   in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia right before the 2012 Lopota Gorge Incident. There are also photos of Akhmad Chatayev with Naib in Pankisi at the same time. Chatayev was the senior representative of Imarat Kavkaz at the time. Continue reading Photos of Salakhuddin Shishani & Akhmad Chatayev In Pankisi Before Lopota Gorge Incident

Abu Musa Shishani Alive, Still Fighting In Latakia

I had wondered what had happened to Abu Musa Shishani, the Amir of Ansar a-Sham, a Syrian jamaat in Latakia.

abu musa ansar a-sham

I have recently learned that he is alive, still fighting, still the amir of Ansar a-Sham and has good relations with other North Caucasian groups in Latakia province. He just hates being photographed.

Abu Musa Shishani is also the cousin of Salakhuddin Shishani, but he had lived in Ingushetia.

1st Imarat Kavkaz Amir in Syria Fought Alongside Gelayev In Chechnya, Died Fighting Alongside Ahrar

Trusted sources who knew Rustam Gelayev, the son of Chechen commander Ruslan Gelayev, well (and who were also acquainted with Ruslan), have confirmed that Rustam was killed in Syria in August 2012 and have given more details about the early days of the North Caucasian involvement in the Syrian civil war, which show that Imarat Kavkaz was involved in the conflict, in a sense, from very early on. It also gives clues to the struggles within IK, including between its Chechen and Kabardinian elements. Continue reading 1st Imarat Kavkaz Amir in Syria Fought Alongside Gelayev In Chechnya, Died Fighting Alongside Ahrar

North Caucasian Fighters: Umar Shishani Was Brave, Honest & Talented Even If He Made Mistakes

North Caucasian fighters in Syria have commented on social media about Umar Shishani, with interesting reactions to comments by other fighters that Umar was not a good military commander. While the debate over Umar has been incredibly polarized, with anti-IS North Caucasians slamming him and IS mythologizing him (and reports in the Western press doing the same, more on that below), here we have some context from North Caucasians who experienced the conflict first hand. I have translated the comments below. Continue reading North Caucasian Fighters: Umar Shishani Was Brave, Honest & Talented Even If He Made Mistakes

UPDATED: Ajnad al-Kavkaz Issue Statement Condemning Istanbul Terror Attacks

The Chechen-led group Ajnad al-Kavkaz have issued a statement in Turkish on their website that condemns the 28 June 2016 terrorist bombing at Ataturk Airport. (Updated 9 July: the group has issued a longer statement in Russian setting out their position on the attack in Istanbul and on the 5 July bombing in Medina).
Continue reading UPDATED: Ajnad al-Kavkaz Issue Statement Condemning Istanbul Terror Attacks

Meet The Tatar & Ural Katiba Al-Mahdi, in Syria via Kazan

You know those days when you wake up and plan to write about Tajiks in IS, but then a totally unknown group of Tatars from Kazan appear and make a video address? Yeah, I know. Continue reading Meet The Tatar & Ural Katiba Al-Mahdi, in Syria via Kazan

Imarat Kavkaz in Syria Military Base Day Planner

This is a current Imarat Kavkaz in Syria daily plan for military bases (though not during Ramadan). Continue reading Imarat Kavkaz in Syria Military Base Day Planner

Umar Shishani’s Man Who Fought At Menagh, Then Was Killed In Dagestan

Ever since the first reports of Russian-speaking militants fighting in Syria emerged in the media, questions have been raised about the specter of “blowback” — i.e. what would happen if and when some of these militants returned home to wage “jihad” in the Russian Federation. Here is evidence of one militant who did return from Syria to Dagestan, where he was killed in a counter-terrorism operation and was suspected of preparing to commit terror attacks in that North Caucasus republic. Continue reading Umar Shishani’s Man Who Fought At Menagh, Then Was Killed In Dagestan

More About Muslim Shishani’s Early Years As a Militant In Ingushetia (With Pics!)

KavkazPress has published more details on Muslim Shishani’s earlier years,  including some photos of him sans beard, some of which I cannot resist translating here. Some of the information KavkazPress has included is stuff I have already published in earlier posts, and I am not going to reproduce that here. Continue reading More About Muslim Shishani’s Early Years As a Militant In Ingushetia (With Pics!)

Tracking Russian-speaking Foreign Fighters In Syria